THE stage at the Globe is beginning to take on a reddish hue this year thanks to the amount of blood being spilled on it.
So far copious amounts have been shed in productions of Titus Andronicus and Anthony and Cleopatra but this is being added to thanks to Julius Caesar which has just opened at the Bankside theatre.
Directed by Dominic Dromgoole the action starts way before the bell goes thanks to Roman musicians and entertainers who mill about outside the theatre. The audience even gets a chance to see Mark Anthony run a circuit of the courtyard before the curtain goes up.
It all sets the scene for a brilliant and hugely entertaining production of Shakespeare's political play which charts the rise of Mark Anthony and the fall of Julius Caesar and all the bickering and political posturing in between.
The quality of the production stems from the brilliance of the actors and the way they deliver the text.
However, credit too to the stage itself - the Globe is the perfect place for this play - it has the space for the actors to roam around and it allows for both Mark Anthony and Brutus to deliver their addresses after the assassination of Caesar to the Roman people - us, the audience, most of whom are looking up at them from the yard.
Tom McKay gives an assured performance as the smug and self assured Brutus - the man who thinks is arrogant enough to believe he is right all the time yet makes the wrong decision at every turn.
George Irving gives Caesar a steely arrogance and with just enough arrogance and menace.
Luke Thompson is great as Mark Anthony - initially seen as drunk after a night on the tiles, but transforming into an impressive orator.
Elsewhere Christopher Logan as the somewhat camp, gossipy Casca was a joy and Katy Stephens was brilliant as both Calpurnia and one of the citizens who heckles from amongst the groundlings.
Julius Caesar is on at the Globe, Bankside until October 11. Tickets from £5. Visit www.shakespearesglobe.com or call the box office on 020 7401 9919