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Julius Caesar: The Death of a Dictator

theatre · the gangbusters theatre company · Ages 10+ · family friendly · flashing lights · United States

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June 19, 2011 la theatre review

My overall impression

The Gangbusters Theatre Company presents the Orson Welles adaptation of Julius Caesar with one promise: it will be fast and bloody. And while the spin, directed by Leon Shanglebee, on the Bard’s classic play of the assassination of the Roman dictator and the fall of his conspirators lived up to that promise, it left something to be desired in regards to focus and emotional depth.
The production foolishly substitutes emotion with blood. The emotionally wrought betrayal of Caesar is lost to fantastical gore effects. The raw breakdown of Brutus is replaced with yelling and knife wounds. The production’s strongest players (much to the offense of Shakespeare) were the women. As Calphurnia, Caesar’s restless wife, Cassandra Nwokah proved herself to be on another talent level entirely.
The black and red militia costumes by Mandrake & Chong’s of West Hollywood added a nice and updated look for the classic play, but attempts to update the piece further with a Metallica soundtrack and a score by composer Bone Douglas were both distracting and ill-fitting.

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