I was fortunate enough to see the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus recently with Tom Hiddleston in the title role.
The Donmar is a small, intimate space so there’s no such thing as a bad seat; though it can be quite intimidating to eyeball the cast in such a dramatic and intense play.
Coriolanus is a play I that was unfamiliar with prior to seeing this production – it’s not one I covered in school or college. That said I found it surprising easy to get back into iambic pentameter!
When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus. But famine threatens the city, the citizens’ hunger swells to an appetite for change, and on returning from the field Coriolanus must confront the march of realpolitik and the voice of an angry people. Yet at the centre of the play is the intimate story of the relationship between a mother and her son.
Josie Rouke has produced the most devishly clever production of such a grand play in such a small space. It’s fast paced, surprisingly funny for a tragedy and I simply can’t say enough about the cast. There isn’t one bad performance, though the stand out for me was Mark Gatiss wryly mocking the tribunes and playing them at their own games. Tom Hiddleston in the lead was stupendous – weaving his craft from grand senate speeches to softer moments with family members.
I’s thoroughly recommend it, though you’ll have to get in there fast as the run closes on 13th February. As part of the National Theatre’s Encore Screening programme another screening will be shown at local cinemas. Visit http://www.ntlive.com/ for details.