Tuesday, 4 March 2014

"City of kites and crows"

Shakespeare's Coriolanus is not a bundle of laughs. But it does have one or two memorable speeches and phrases. An earlier NT live performance relay - we were turned away in January when the connection to Cheltenham failed - was encored yesterday afternoon.

My companions left at the interval: I admit to being tempted to follow, but on balance I'm glad to have sat it out, bloody though the hero's (literal) comeuppance was.

Josie Rourke's Almeida production fills that small stage with action rather than props. It's a pocket battleship version, and you miss the scale of unfolding events: I have a dim memory of Peter Hall's epic 1959 rendering at Stratford, with Olivier in the name part and Edith Evans, Mary Ure and Vanessa Redgrave as the three main women (Diana Rigg, Ian Holm and Albert Finney in minor parts). Tom Hiddlestone at 33 looks and may inevitably seem lightweight when compared to Olivier at 52, but his coiled energy, if not his mainly soft-spoken poetry, makes for a compelling performance.

Meanwhile, our garden boasts neither kites or crows, but a robin settled happily on my spinach basket this morning.

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