Tag Archives: Coriolanus

‘Coriolanus’ Review: Classic Shakespearean Angst feat. Tom Hiddleston

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And, oh, how the crowd continued to grow… © 2014 Francesca Rodriguez

If there’s one thing I have in abundance, it’s “commitment”. I said, a year ago, that the moment Tom Hiddleston returned to the London stage, I would also return to witness it. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what I did to celebrate the new year after months and months of planning. To be fair, ‘Coriolanus’ wasn’t the ONLY draw; a few of my dearest loves, who I only see once a year, were going to be in London at the same time anyway. We like to party, we miss each other, and we have nothing if not a boner for the Bard (we also caught ‘Henry V’ while there). Catching a plane over the Atlantic for this perfect storm of friends, booze, and stage was something I didn’t even have to think about

And what to tell you about ‘Coriolanus’?! Well, it’s Shakespeare as I’ve never seen it, I can say that. Not that I’m well-read enough to have indulged in every one of his plays, but I’d never heard of ‘Coriolanus’ outside of a brief synopsis involving blood and tears. Being Shakespeare, you kind of expect that anyway. It involves a prideful Roman general, an easily duped populace, a grieving mother, and an ardent “frenemy”; not satisfied with Caius Marcius’ (Coriolanus) lack of humility after a grand victory, said populace turns on him which ends well for no one. Coriolanus aligns with his former foe, Aufidius, who’s always tendered a hidden flame for him, and lays siege to the city that betrayed him. Except, you know, his mom comes begging for mercy and Coriolanus can’t find it in himself to remain the hardened monster he’d become. So Aufidius ends him in a gory yet beautiful fashion, weeping prettily all the while. Shakespeare, people! How can you not love this shit?

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Spoils of war! © 2014 Francesca Rodriguez

Obviously, that’s my extremely watered down version of the quite emotional saga. I can’t say if it was because of Tom and the rest of the exceptional cast, or the Bard’s work in general, but we were literally on the edges of our seats. The play is being featured at the Donmar Warehouse and that place is small. I’m talking a max of 250-300 people in an audience. My darlings and I were seated in the balcony and, had the rail been absent, we would have fallen onto the stage, that is how engaged we were. You could feel the energy coming from the actors, the passion pouring forth from their words! Looking around, I couldn’t find a single attendee who wasn’t similarly riveted. “Captivating”, “addictive”, “seductive”, “mesmerizing”, these are all excellent adjectives to describe this production. In the words of the Internet, “I wanted to claw my face off”. Regardless of who/what I can attribute my reaction to, I’ve never experienced Shakespeare like that and can only be grateful to all involved.

Tom Hiddleston was born to do what he does, the equivalent of magic, endlessly drawing the audience in until you feel as if you’re almost a part of the play. Another actor who completely blew me away was Rochenda Sandall who played the “First Citizen”, as well as being part of the ensemble. Unsurprisingly? Both Sandall and Hiddleston were trained at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). Whatever they’re doing there is refining and pumping out a high degree of quality!

This is my boo, Kate. That 'fro in the back talking to Tom is me. That stoic security dude next to us wins all the awards. Basically, this picture says everything about that night.
This is my boo, Kate. That ‘fro in the back, talking to Tom, is me. That stoic security dude next to us wins all the awards. Basically, this picture says everything about that night.

It was lovely to meet Tom again (always a prince), after the evening performance, and I cannot stress enough how wonderful the staff of the Donmar were about the fans waiting outside for autographs. They made everyone line up according to whether or not they had tickets, while security did their best to make sure there were no line-jumpers, all while being incredibly nice and respectful about it! Holy crap! As a NYer, you don’t get as much of that here. And as a NYer who’s gone to her fair share of musicals/plays, it’s worth mentioning that my entire experience at the Donmar Warehouse was the most pleasant of it’s kind that I’ve had. From their Twitter handling, to ticket pickup, to entrance, seating, and meet and greet. Top fucking notch. *FYI, I actually fist-bumped the security dude after meeting Tom because he was definitely an added highlight to my evening. Also, I was a little tipsy.* Since seeing ‘Coriolanus’, I’ve likely gushed about the venue as much as the production itself! If you have the opportunity to see the play in person, please do so; you’ll be treated from start to finish.

‘Coriolanus’ has been extended through to February 13, 2014, holla! NTLive will also be broadcasting a live performance to global theatres on January 30th, 2014.

Tom Hiddleston Returns To The Stage In ‘You Need A Shower’ aka ‘Coriolanus’

© Johan Persson via TimeOut.com
© Johan Persson via TimeOut.com

photos courtesy of Torrilla unless otherwise noted

 

Something I’ve said today: “I like my Shakespeare like I like my men; leather clad and covered in gore.” Not that this is a strange comment for me to make (as you’ve learned during our sweet time together), but the specific reason it came up today, is this…HAPPY ‘CORIOLANUS’ DAY, BITCHES! HAVE SOME BRAND NEW PICS!

 

© Johan Persson via TimeOut.com; gif by me for obvious reasons
© Johan Persson via TimeOut.com; gif by me for obvious reasons

 

What is ‘Coriolanus’, you ask? Oh, ho, ho! Allow me to enlighten you! In the most literal of senses, ‘Coriolanus’ is a Bard flavored tragedy that tells the story of famed Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus which, of course, makes my mention of gore more understandable. Having just finished it’s week worth of previews to be officially “out” on the “Great White Way” of London, excitement is further bubbling because we’ve been blessed with Tom Hiddleston in the title role. I know, I know, I’ve slacked off in not coordinating a group spaz session for this. My sincere apologies! I’ll wait while you get your froth and drool out of the way.

 

© Johan Persson via TimeOut.com
© Johan Persson via TimeOut.com

 

Better? So, yes, Tom Hiddleston as Coriolanus. All that talent, all that intensity, where it rightfully belongs. I mean, if they’re not handing out smelling salts at the door, that could be a problem! The Donmar Warehouse, along with having a certain amount of last minute performance tickets still available each Monday, will also be doing a live broadcast of the play at select theatres worldwide on January 30th, giving so many of us a chance to bear witness. A pretty sweet deal that brings both more attention to the art itself, as well as feeds our need, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Too, the Donmar has been consistent with their provision of behind the scenes/prep photos leading up to this much anticipated opening so, kudos to them! It’s unsurprising that the addition of Tom coupled with savvy marketing made this play sell out in record time. It’s also why, when those last minute tickets DO go on sale, fan fervor sends the Donmar website crashing. Oops?

 

via The Donmar Warehouse twitter
via The Donmar Warehouse twitter

 

Reviews from reputable sources as well as close friends have spoken and, yes, ‘Coriolanus’ is a bonafide success. All parties involved have succeeded in what they’ve set out to do with stellar performances, leaving audiences more than satisfied with this rendition of the tragedy. You can’t see me though I assure you that fist-pumping is periodically happening as I write this! As well as twerks. What?! Anyhoo, epic amounts of congratulations to Tom and his cast mates (including the esteemed Mark Gatiss), whom I can’t wait to see in the New Year*.

 

*Am I really going to London for the New Year to see ‘Coriolanus’? Short answer is “yes, definitely”. As well as ‘Henry V’. BECAUSE WHY THE HELL NOT?! *maniacal cackle*