The reason, you ask?
The song, an earworm, lodged itself firmly into my cerebellum once I knew I was going to see an NT Live transmission of Coriolanus.
Still not fully made the connection?
You may recall there’s a line in the song about getting booted up the ‘Coriolanus’. Thing is, I seem to have a musical black-hole in my brain when it comes to lyrics, e.g. “Brush up your Shakespeare, start quoting him now, brush up your Shakespeare, da da da da da da da da” - then a whole lot more ‘das’ before finishing with “Da da da Coriolanus”.
Perhaps you’re beginning to understand how weeks of this might drive the latter-day saints that surround me into contemplating a little arsenic or ground-glass topping on my muesli!
Anyway, relief came when the night of the (exorcism) performance finally arrived and we went along to see the show. Coriolanus is not a Shakespeare play I am well acquainted with, having only seen it performed just once. This was at the RSC in Stratford back in the early 1970s.
The Donmar production, directed by Josie Rourke and with Tom Hiddleston in the titular role, was highly accessible. I found myself engaged throughout the entire performance and was honestly left open-mouthed by the abrupt, quite viscerally shocking final scene. I don’t know why, but I am still endlessly surprised by Shakespeare’s universality and greatness as a playwright - you’d think I’d know this by now, wouldn’t you? Isn’t it amazing that four hundred years on, Shakespeare can still leave an audience feeling emotionally drained and speechless?
The designer Lucy Osborne used the space simply but effectively, creating something powerfully evocative by subtly incorporating graffiti designs reminiscent of those seen in the ancient Roman world. The cast brought the play to life with a consistent energy and dynamism and all deserve praise; however, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Gatiss as Menenius and Deborah Findlay as Volumnia were outstanding. The production runs at the Donmar Warehouse, Covent Garden, until 13 February. Check the NT Live site for possible encore dates at a cinema near you!
I thoroughly recommend seeing this one too!
The show is currently touring the British Isles and you can search for a venue near you by taking a look at this website Julie Madly Deeply