The Ides of March is a deeply enjoyable play that draws upon a host of cultural references to put layer upon layer on an already tightly-plotted and playful show.
With a cast of four and a room upstairs from Treasury 1860, the team prove deft in building ancient Rome and all its populace from the deep recesses of history.
Sadly, their run is limited to three shows at the Adelaide Fringe, the last being Sundays the 17th’s (today at time of publication) performance. After the performance the audience was informed this was their first sell-out show which seems absurd for a play of this quality. This a piece of theatre that draws upon things as broad as Doctor Who, ancient Roman history, hardboiled detective stories, and Shakespeare yet requires no assumed knowledge to enjoy. If you know nothing of Shakespeare’s works or the history of Rome, you will learn something. If you are already familiar with all this, you’ll enjoy hidden facets and jokes. This is a play for everyone and does an excellent job at managing to keep the interest and enjoyment of all in the audience.
The play moves at speed, making full use of its 50 minutes to play with history and with the expectations of theatre. Every element that could pose an issue for the production such as their limited cast (standing in for the majority of the ancient Roman populations), props, or simple limitations of the stage, are mined for comic material.
The piece plays with convention, finding humour in the nature of theatre, including an unexpected nod to audience participation. It’s clear from early on that this is a well-polished performance that plays with expectation and knows exactly how to use it to yield the greatest results. The audience was as diverse in age as possible and yet they managed to engage everyone at all times as there is something for everyone to enjoy.
A true highlight of the Fringe, be sure to catch The Ides of March before it’s gone. Hopefully they will be back next year and should they be, you can be certain tickets will not be so easy to come by.
Word by Liam McNally
The Ides of March is playing at Treasury 1860 until February 17. Tickets available here.