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BWW Review: JULIS CAESAR at Subiaco Arts Centre

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WAAPA student's final performance before graduating shows off all their polish and skill

BWW Review: JULIS CAESAR at Subiaco Arts Centre

The play JULIUS CAESAR may be one of the more noted Shakespeare plays, full of memorable lines and often run on stage and screen. The third year WAAPA students-in their last production before graduating- were not content with a mere rerun, however, and gave the setting and themes of this classic a contemporary feel.

Raj Labade in the title role made an excellent Caesar, and skillfully guided the audience through the character and his faults. Labade begins as a conqueror, and quickly shows the pride and stubbornness that become Caesar's tragic flaws. George Vickers-Willis plays Brutus in the lead role, with four times as many lines as Caesar. Brutus' own progression is wonderfully portrayed, from people pleaser to conspirator, again with a tragic dose of pride. Angelica Lockyer delivers the role of head-conspirator Cassius perfectly, providing the characteristics and wit to get each new conspirator on board and to justify their actions. 'Ana Ika makes a perfect Mark Antony, slipping under the radar of the conspirators as subservient to Caesar, but later delivering a compelling and impassioned plea to the people of Rome that turns them against the conspirators who sought to help them. Abbey Morgan as Portia, Brutus' wife, is similarly wonderful, begging Brutus to open up to her, returning later as a spirit to warn him.

BWW Review: JULIS CAESAR at Subiaco Arts Centre

The rest of the cast all performed multiple roles, and all did so perfectly, with obvious differences and contrasts. Briana Esme begins as Calpurnia, Caesar's somewhat demure wife. In the second act Esme becomes Octavius, and wonderfully completes the show's cycle by becoming Rome's tyrannical leader. Sebastian Belmont begins as the prophesizing Soothsayer who warns Caesar, Tim Ogborne seeks to allay Brutus as Casca, and Zoe Morgan is Lucius, Brutus' faithful and unwavering servant who even delivers a song.

Darren Kumar is almost unsettling as a crazed Cimber, and yet delivers a retreating and soft role as Volumnius who refuses Brutus' call for assistance. Madeleine Dona follows a similar path, beginning as a focused conspirator before returning as many layered and complex characters. The rest of the cast are equally magnificent and each contribute to the play's arc and themes. Evan Confos, Emelia Corlett, Gully McGrath, Harrison Pearse, Hannah Penman, Mitchell Tharle and Jack Twelvetree are all wonderful actors and I expect we'll see much of them after graduation.

BWW Review: JULIS CAESAR at Subiaco Arts Centre

The show is directed by Humphrey Bower, who expertly utilizes the small stage and single setting to transform the show and its journeys. The entire auditorium wound up being used at various points, with stage left and stage right being passed over in favour of the stairs, many characters literally appearing from the crowd. Three broken columns and a slightly raised section of stage were the entire setting, and yet did plenty by themselves, with the columns weeping blood and the stage becoming a funeral altar in the assassination scene, all designed by Emily Chong, who also came to the fore with the superb costuming that brought the play into the modern day. Diplomats worse suits whilst the military wore camouflage, harking to Humphrey Bower's modern interpretation of a classic story that repeats itself through history. Joey Eng and Steve Hartley were on stage percussionists and did much to set the tone and atmosphere for the play, helped by Georgia Beswick's flawless lighting.

Having seen much from this cohort of students over the years it's almost sad to think that they will graduate soon, yet each of the students involved with JULIUS CAESAR showcased a broad range of skills that wouldn't be out of place on any stage or screen. If this is anything to go by, I think- and certainly hope- that we will see plenty from these talented performers for years to come.


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