(This is a review and may contain spoilers).
Just to be clear – I’m not really someone who loves Shakespeare. I’m not saying I hate his works, but I do feel pretty neutral about them. Well, the exception to that is the play Romeo and Juliet. I’ve seen so many different versions of that, I’ve become kind of sick of it.
When I saw the poster for the live showing of Coriolanus at my cinema, I immediately decided I wanted to see it. And that decision was primarily based on one factor – Tom Hiddleston. And only partly because the poster showed him half-naked.
I missed the original showing of this, because I was working at the time. But when I saw that there were further showings, I decided a couple of weeks in advance that I was going to see this particular showing.
When I was sitting in the cinema, waiting, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I saw a lot of plays when I was younger, but the last one was more than a couple of years ago and it was the Anne Boleyn play at the Globe Theatre in London. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of different styles of plays, as well as ways plays are performed.
When the opening scene of Coriolanus began, my first thought was that the setting came across as a bit low-budget. My second was that the people of the city had accents that seemed quite obviously London. And the third was that a lot of the costumes were really modern.
With those initial thoughts in my mind, I was half-expecting not to really enjoy this play so much. By the end, though, that initial impression was turned on its head.
The strongest thing about this play, in my opinion, was the skill of the actors. Despite the fact that, in comparison to a film, the amount of actors was fairly small, the crowd scenes came across really well – especially when they were all shouting at Coriolanus. Some of the language made it a little difficult to understand what was going on (I’ve never been that good with Shakespearean quotes), but I have to say, the facial expressions of the actors made it all come across really well.
During the fight scene, what really occurred to me was the fact that, unlike during a film, the play didn’t rely on any special effects, stunt doubles, etc. I really feel that a lot of skill came through with this play.
There were a few scenes that were particularly gruesome. I felt that came across really well, despite being in real-time.
I won’t say much more, since I don’t want to give too much of the story away. I’m not sure this is a play I’d watch again, but it’s definitely one that I quite liked watching. I think it’s definitely worth seeing, particularly if you’re a fan of Shakespeare as it is.