Ralph Fiennes Leads Vast Cast in Julius Caesar Beginning April 14
By James Inverne
Ralph Fiennes makes his return to the London stage April 14 in Deborah Warner’s epic new production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at London’s Barbican Centre.
Fiennes plays Mark Anthony, Lesser is Brutus and Russell Beale is Cassius. Fans of theatre trivia might note that the trio were prominent at the Royal Shakespeare Company around the same time: Fiennes’ first season there saw his Henry VI killed by Lesser’s Richard of Gloucester, while soon afterwards Fiennes was Troilus alongside Russell Beale.
Since then, however, Fiennes has become internationally famous for his screen performances in films such as “Schindler’s List” and “The English Patient.” Russell Beale has become one of London theatre’s busiest performers, most recently in Macbeth at the Almeida. And, Lesser has notched up stage credits including Art and the National Theatre’s Private Lives.
Other casting includes Fiona Shaw as Portia and John Shrapnell as Caesar. Both are among the UK’s best-known classical actors. Shaw, a regular Warner collaborator, enjoyed high-profile successes in the latter’s London productions of Medea (a show that went to Broadway in 2002, bagging Shaw a Tony nomination) and Richard II (where Shaw cross dressed to play the king). The tiny role of Portia, however, is smaller than the stage roles she now usually accepts. Shrapnel, a stage veteran, has also recently been building up his film career — with roles in "Notting Hill," "Gladiator" and "Troy."
After previews, the show officially opens April 20 and plays until May 14. The Barbican is co-producing the show with BITE:05 and the Gran Theatre de la Ville, Luxembourg. After London, Caesar will visit Paris, Madrid and Luxembourg.
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