Julius Caesar

Inspired by popular Roman-esque style fetish wear, designer Kelli des Jarlais alongside writer Ellen Carr brings the Shakespearean play into the modern day setting of a fetish club. Unorthodox though it sounds, this contemporary take on the Bard's tragedy does not deviate from the performance's original themes of gender and power.

Abundant with writhing bodies, sensual noises and sexual interactions, the other world that the audience were transported into was not solely smutty however. Such antics were incorporated to test the gender binaries that would have been at play at the time in which Julius Caesar was set and that still continue today. This was on one level challenged aesthetically through the male characters adopting more typically feminine attire. The alternative choice of clothing was then reflected in the ambiguous power dynamics that the male and female characters had with one another.

With the cast not wishing for the audience to be a passive one, regular attempts were made for audience members to join in on low-level fetish acts such as biting and licking. In spite of the intense atmosphere in which this production was set however, the theatre company were respectful to audience boundaries and those who were happy just to watch rather than take part.

Admittedly not a performance for everyone, it was a refreshingly brave take on a traditional play. A performance triumphant enough to warrant 'Hail, Caesar!'

Reviews by Oliver Lugg

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The Blurb

After a sell-out success in 2015, Witness Theatre’s provocative Julius Caesar returns to Brighton Fringe. In this contemporary interpretation, Rome is a fetish club where people play for power and sex is politics. [newline] “Exceptionally sexy” (Jeremy Malies, Plays International).