Adelaide Fringe Festival. Bakehouse Theatre. 17 Mar 2021
The Ides of March is about time travel, treachery, and togas!
Its basic premise is that William Shakespeare travels back in time to 44BC to ancient Rome to undertake research for his play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. How does he manage this feat? With a TARDIS by any other name, and with time travel there follows any number of existential issues associated with the Time Travel paradox that are ripe for humorous exploration. If one interferes and prevents Caesar’s assassination, to what extent will history from then on be changed? If Shakespeare gets caught up in the events and is killed himself, will he be the only writer to live and tell the story etc etc ? It’s fertile ground and rich with comic possibilities but the humour is often forced, and resorts to cliché.
The cast of four work like navvies all playing multiple characters with many costume changes all performed at near light speed. Jennifer Ashley performs strongly as Cassius and Detectivus (yes, it’s a detective story as well!), Paul Brown is hysterical – literally - as Casca and Cardenio, James Rosier is calculating and luckless as Brutus and Pomodoro, and Kieran Bullock as Caesar and Shakespeare delights in trotting out iconic quotations. In typical Fringe style, the set is minimalist but with just enough surprises (such as an anachronistic pop up toaster!) to keep it interesting. The simple but well executed lighting plot enhances the pace of the show.
In addition to the ‘birth’ of various quotes from the Bard, another enjoyable aspect of the show is the mimicking of well-known TV shows, and the regular breaking of the so-called fourth wall between the audience and cast.
The whole thing is very much tongue-in-cheek, and even though the cast throw their hearts and souls into this madcap show, it has now been around for three years and has perhaps lost a little of the sparkle it once had.
When: 17 to 20 Mar
Where: Bakehouse Theatre