Coriolanus a tragedy of a night out for Spalding reviewer

National Theatre Live: Coriolanus.
National Theatre Live: Coriolanus.

It looked like a disembowelment – certainly, Coriolanus was hanged by his feet and his stomach cut open – and it was probably a dramatic closing scene for the theatre audience watching it live.

For me, seeing another of the always impressive National Theatre Live broadcasts, the moment simply brought relief: at last, I could go home.

It was not the fault of the cast: as always with these productions, the quality of acting was exceptional. Tom Hiddleston playing Coriolanus and Deborah Findlay his mother Volumnia excelled.

The lesser-known story is a tragedy, so one should expect a fair amount of that, but I didn’t think we would have to stomach an entire production of bloody and violent scenes, relieved by just a couple of lighter moments. I also found Volumnia’s glorification of her son’s battle wounds implausible, but perhaps that’s because I’m a 21st century mum.

The idea of popular unrest against government is a good one to explore, but surely the starving citizens of Rome wouldn’t have turned on their defender, Coriolanus?

Birgitte Hjort SØrensen (Borgen fans will know the name) pulled some tragic faces, but her talents were wasted as she had little to say.

Jean Hodge