The Ides of March

The Ides of March
By Kieran Bullock. Adelaide Fringe 2019. Elwood Social Club Productions. The Cabinet Room, Treasury 1860. 15 – 17 February 2019

A time travelling Shakespeare goes to Ancient Rome to witness Caesar’s murder, so he can adapt the events for his new play. This fast-paced, wonderfully silly comedy doesn’t require the audience to be overly familiar with the playwright’s works – though you’ll smile more if you do.

The four performers play all the parts, often different characters in the same scene, and they carry this off seamlessly and effectively: more than simply changing a hat or an accent, they inhabit distinct personalities from an American noir detective to a conniving Roman senator, or a proper English Will to a Caesar himself.

They deliver their frenetic dialogue clearly, barely without breath, and whilst this quartet break the fourth wall, there’s no pause for laughter and the audience is caught up in the quirky thrill and comedy.

 There’s good use of lighting, sound and simple props: the jail cell is inspired; and the writing is self-aware and sharp: what could have been a one-liner about a knife is an integral driver of the plot.

 Like any parody that brings life to the ghost of Python, it also addresses social issues: the fear of foreigners, two-faced politicians, and the all-important time travel paradox.

It’s a bald-faced bard’s farce, full of slapstick and knowing nods to his other works, and a great way to start your Fringe.

Mark Wickett

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