Whishaw stars on stage and screen at Festival

Ben Whishaw in Julius Caesar
Ben Whishaw in Julius Caesar
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THE buzz around Ben Whishaw has been ever-present from the moment he started to make his mark on UK stage and screen back in the early noughties.

On Friday, there’s a chance to see the 37-year-old justifying that buzz when appears ‘on stage’ as Brutus in the National Theatre Encore screening of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, at the Festival theatre.

The BAFTA winner, who is currently starring in the BBC One drama A Very English Scandal, is joined in the production by David Morrissey, Michelle Fairley and David Calder as Caesar.

The first promenade staging to be captured by National Theatre Live, Julius Caesar was filmed at London’s Bridge Theatre, where 400 of the audience became part of the play’s action.

Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate.

Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite lead by Brutus and Cassius conspire to bring him down.

After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital while Mark Antony attempts to bring Rome back under control after the conspirators’ defeat.

In the transformed auditorium of the Bridge Theatre, Nicholas Hytner’s staging of the political thriller saw the audience become the crowd of hundreds in the street party greeting Caesar’s triumphant return to Rome.

They’re also the congress that witnesses his murder, and part of the civil war that erupts in the wake of his assassination.

The filmed version gives audiences the chance to experience both perspectives from within the crowd and looking on to the action.

Julius Caesar, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Friday 25 May, 7pm, £14.50, 0131-529 6000