David Fox: The NT Live brand—which, through YouTube, is generously sharing, free of charge, some of its precious archive—is something of a misnomer. The initials stand for the celebrated National Theatre, located on London’s South Bank, and a number of their performances have been featured. But many other British companies are similarly presented. (We also don’t see them “live” here in the U.S., but never mind.) Candidly, my interest in this Coriolanus increased significantly when I learned it came from the Donmar Warehouse. I’ve seen a number of shows there in person, and always felt lucky: it’s a very small space (251 seats), so getting a ticket is often difficult—but more to the point, they have earned a reputation for bold rethinking and a kind of youthful muscularity that is coupled with the more traditional hallmarks of British theater. Lots of stars at Donmar, too—and of course, sitting within feet (metres?) from Dame Judi or Daniel Craig is a particular treat. For me, this Coriolanus, filmed in 2014, delivers on all cylinders.
Cameron Kelsall: Indeed—and Coriolanus is the kind of minor Shakespeare that requires a strong directorial vision, along with incredibly skilled and specific acting, to really work. Here, we get both. Director Josie Rourke updates the action to a vague present, which allows a story set in ancient Rome—and about, of all things, the price of grain—to benefit from contemporary antecedents of political unrest and state violence. (Even though this production is nearly a decade old, it’s particularly resonant given the current state of affairs throughout the world.) It’s powerful and memorable, sleekly designed (sets and costumes by Lucy Osborne, lighting by Mark Henderson), streamlined and remarkably coherent, given the thorniness of the text itself. And the cast, headed by Tom Hiddleston as Caius Martius, is uniformly fantastic, and on the same page in terms of style…
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Categories: Criticism, PARTERRE BOX, Theater
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