Julius Caesar or Macbeth

by | Aug 17, 2022 | Featured, Reviews

Syleham Water Meadows, near Eye

If you can perform Shakespeare in a field with practically nothing apart from a dog then you’re either mad or the guys from Play Nicely Theatre, who are currently touring the region with their unique open air shows called ‘The Mechanicals present Julius Caesar or Macbeth’

The Mechanicals are, of course, the characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream however, we are not here to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we are here to see The Mechanicals put on the tragic plays of Julius Caesar and Macbeth (as separate performances), which means it’s almost a play within a play, although not quite……

Now bear in mind The Mechanicals are a group of manual workers with zero talent and are therefore completely incompetent at acting. We meet them as they are warming up, warming up muscles, voices, practicing their play fighting and we hear their silly serious banter between themselves.

With the audience settled, the Director, Peter Quince, gathers the group and they discuss with themselves and the audience what play they should perform. With Julius Caesar chosen, Quince hands out some scripts and starts the rehearsal.

This format is hilarious. The cast alternate between being a mechanical or one of the characters in Julius Caesar as they cleverly and comically stumble through the serious play. There are scenes and parts of the script that get repeated as Quince throws out instructions to do it again but better, or a last minute change to some action, or maybe an error so it has to be performed again for practice. There is communication between the Mechanicals to help each other along and lots of interaction with the audience whether it’s telling jokes, checking that all is okay, or Flute showing off.

As well as the ‘seriousness’ of the actual play, there are many light hearted and fun elements of the whole performance which keeps you constantly amused. The simplest of props added another level of humour, for example the water pistols for the storm and Snout dressed up as cardboard dagger!

Play Nicely Theatre Group are the performers and the cast were all fabulous. They are:
Molly Cutter, Xavier Starr, Mark Rush, Sasha Wilson and Henri Merriam.

Each of them portrayed their Mechanical actor playing a character (or two) with such fullness and richness, it made it a joy to watch. I can’t imagine this format is easy to perform, however these guys smashed it. They were exceptionally talented and I truly can see the whole cast having a very bright future. They were funny, dynamic, energetic, passionate, talented and musical – every element required.

I need to mention I saw both performances in one day – I got to see Julius Caesar and Macbeth. Both were brilliant, although Macbeth possibly edged it as there was a very cute dog involved. I also need to mention why there were minimal props and no scenery – we were in a field! Outdoor theatre at its simplest format, we were sitting in Syleham Water Meadows in the sunshine watching Shakespeare. I totally loved the format and it proves that if done right, theatre can be anywhere. This is what makes theatre so incredible, accessible and enjoyable.

The next shows are at Keyston Farm, Cambridgeshire and it’s definitely one to experience.






  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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