Sunday, February 25, 2007


Last night, Clara and I saw Shakespeare's Coriolanus at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. I found it a rather unsatisfying production. The three main actors (William Houston as Coriolanus, Janet Suzman as Volumnia, and Timothy West as Menenius) were terrific, despite one or two memory lapses by West, but some of the actors were not up to the usual standard. Many of the scenes were just people standing around shouting, without putting much thought or expression into their words. William Houston was terrific at conveying Coriolanus's haughtiness and anger, and he has a fine, commanding voice that doesn't need to shout to be heard. But I wasn't completely drawn into the drama as I was with Henry VI. It's hard to warm to a play that pits a fickle, ill-informed populace against an arrogant, inflexible wartime leader. It's too much like reading the American newspapers. Last night's was only the second performance after previews, and the director (Gregory Doran) was seen in the audience taking notes throughout the performance, so perhaps things will improve.

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