Shakespeare in the Park returns after a 2-year hiatus, with a powerful play about power and ambition. This year’s play, Julius Caesar, is based on true events in Roman history. However, the SRT’s adaptation provides a modern twist to the classic play.
This version notably changes Julius Caesar’s gender as well as adapted the context of the play from ancient Rome to an international power struggle of the alliance called R.O.M.E, which is inspired by United Nations and the G7. The play is timely against a backdrop of contemporary politics.
The first thing that you will notice as you enter the grounds would be the unique stage design. The stage offers many surprises as you watch the play. The emergence of a fountain for the ball scene was a jaw – dropping tranformation that I did not see coming, and I was thinking about it long after it had disappeared. This is an unforgettable stage design, props to Guy Unsworth (Director) and Richard Kent (Production designer).
The director and the creative team outdid themselves in the use of multimedia. There was the use of live cameras. Which made the audience feel as if they were part of the action on stage. The screens were also a good way of showing the various news outlets reporting on the news and it also shows the visual representation of the sheer number of people that die during the entire play. The combination of multimedia and the innovative stage design was as perfect as peanut butter and jam on toast.
There were many note-worthy performances. This came from Jo Kukathas (Julius Caesar), she very powerfully emulated the psychological dilemma that Caesar had throughout the play. Barri Baskoro (Lucilius), Tia Andrea Guttensohn (Flavius and Portia), Daniel Jenkins (Casca), Julie Wee (Caius Cassius), were all great leads that pulled the audience in to the storyline with moving performances. Vanessa Vanderstraaten (Popilius Lena) was a fantastic reporter, I was so absorbed by her performance, I really started to believe that she was a real news reporter on the scene. Shane Mardjuki (Marullus, Cicero, Octavious Caesar), played many characters so it could be slightly confusing, however, in every role he did, it was different and refreshing.
However, the fight scene with only the leads was rather lack-luster and they do not have the same intensity that the ensemble had. As this was an important turning point in the narrative, it was rather disappointing to see the drop in energy.
The supporting Ensemble did a fantastic job. They had to do some pretty intense fighting choreography, while being both the police and the rioters. The chaos that they created was very well – executed for an ensemble that was this small, they sure made it look like a huge mob.
Overall, Shakespeare in the Park – Julius Caesar is a must watch show. Catch it before it’s over!
Venue: Fort Canning Park – Gothic Gate
Show dates: 2nd May – 27th May 2018
Timing: 7.30pm, Gates open: 6.30pm.
Duration: 2h 30mins (15 mins interval)
Promo: $15 per ticket for Bloomberg YOUth. (For shows on 10th, 17th and 24th May. For Patrons between 15 years old to 25 years old. Must be bought at an Authorised Sistic Agent.) Limited Tickets Available!