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I, Cinna (the Poet) review – Tim Crouch and Jude Owusu are dream teachers


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A gift for homeschoolers, Owusu dazzles as the poet from Julius Caesar, drawing young viewers into the creative process

The outbreak of homeschooling caused by the coronavirus has found many of us playing the role of teacher while still in our dressing gowns. And here’s one unexpected tutor who really commands your attention: Jude Owusu, clad in a dirty bathrobe, with a pen behind his ear and a notepad dangling around his neck. Owusu is Cinna, the poet from Julius Caesar, in this film of Tim Crouch’s monologue, part of his series magnifying the experiences of minor characters from Shakespeare.

Originally commissioned for the 2012 World Shakespeare festival and produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, it was performed last month by Crouch at the Unicorn theatre in London. But the film version from 2012 is on YouTube and I decided to watch it with my 10-year-old, Aggie, who tells me she would usually have maths about now. I’d imagined it would provide an hour of escapism and a bit of a sideways look at history but by the end, Aggie is furiously scribbling her own poem inspired by Cinna’s call for creativity.

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