Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne

Julius Caesar is the final Newcastle production playing at the Theatre Royal this season and while there is no doubting the quality of the performances, Director Lucy Bailey fails to delve beyond the surface of each character.

Greg Hicks portrays Caesar as an arrogant man, but is never given the chance to be a tyrant. The character disregards his wife dream and goes to the Capitol on the Ides of March where he is stabbed to death.

At his funeral Brutus (Sam Troughton) and Mark Antony (Darrell D’Silva) address the crowds presenting contrasting views of the conspirators motives. But they have to flee Rome as the people turn against them and finally take their own lives.

William Dudley is responsible for both the set and video design, which is where a lot of distractions to the action on stage occur. A large screen hangs over the back of the set, which is used to project images of soldiers and crowds. The same is done to the six screens that make up the lower back wall of the set. These screens can pivot allowing the actors to appear as if they are part of a large army as they enter between projected video images. While the idea to increase the crowd scenes by using video images is a good one, at times it is confusing and the projected characters appeared robotic against the main actors. However the impact is lost, when it is repeatedly used especially during the over long first half.

While there is nothing really wrong with this production, you only get glimpses of how powerful the play could be rather, than the powerhouse it should be.