The first show of Trinity Rep's 52nd season is "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare. But this isn't your mother or grandmother's version of this classic tale. Director Tyler Dobrowsky takes this well known script and updates it to present day with television coverage of the assassination of Caesar and its aftermath to show current day audiences what ancient Rome looked like in current day terminology and technology. From 44 BC to 2015 AD, the same story has played out thousand of times: an ambitious politician is brought down by a league of jealous conspirators. Driven and confident, Caesar played in this production by resident company member Anne Scurria has just returned from war, a hero, only to find a group of close advisors want her dead. In a prescient of an exploration of the underbelly of political maneuvering, "Julius Caesar" is an explosion of jealous of retribution, power and control. Tyler infuses his cast with keen insight and high energy to capture the attention of the audience from start to finish. His extremely talented cast keeps you enthralled all night long with their powerful portrayals. Tyler, his cast and crew make this one of the must see shows of this or any season.
The audience must wait for the exposition of the first act to commence before the assassination takes place but the power of this show is in the second act with the stunning performances of one and all. There are many standout moments in this show. Anne commands the stage in this role of Caesar. Her death scene is superb. Stephen Thorne runs the gamut of emotions, captures the hearts of the audience with his powerful portrayal. Stephen is electrifying as Brutus, delivering a tour-de-force performance. His betrayal of her is excellently done, displaying his dramatic prowess perfectly. Joe Wilson also shines as Marc Antony. He gives a gut wrenching performance as he comes to bury Caesar on live TV. His emphasize of "honorable men" is wonderfully done as he conveys the disdain felt by the character. Tyler makes the second act into an in your face performance as Brutus and Marc Antony deliver their speeches directly to the audience. Rachael Warren delivers an energetic and captivating performance of Portia, Brutus' wife while Brian McEleney is superb as the duplicitous Cassius who convinces Brutus and the other senators to murder Caesar for the supposed good of the country. He oozes venom and malice ala Dick Cheney. Tyler also infuses his topnotch cast with a mob mentally which is similar to the ones found in "Evita" in Evita Peron, La Santa Peronista as well as in "Jesus Christ Superstar" in "We Need Him Crucified That's All You Need to Do" when the mob spins out of control. So for a riveting evening of terrific acting, be sure to catch "Julius Caesar" at Trinity Repertory Company. Tell them Tony sent you.