Coriolanus is one of the more difficult Shakespeare plays due to its static plot and an unlikeable protagonist. While the Rude Mechanicals don’t entirely work it out, their streamlined modern production is competent and entertaining.
Alan Duda both directs and stars in the production as the proud Roman general who encounters difficulties when he refuses to kowtow to the populist rabble. His performance is generally convincing although less facile than it could be. The cast is uneven and some of the acting is a little broad, but the show includes fine performances by Michelle Trout (his fierce mother Volumnia), Mike Galizia (the Roman nobleman Menenius Agrippa), and Joshua Engel (the Volscian general Aufidius).
A few modern satirical touches enliven the piece, from the obvious laugh-getters (e.g., the “Volscian Threat Level Indicator”) to the more subtle focus on fickle public opinion in a political setting. The use of modern clothing and weaponry (e.g., fatigues and plastic guns) and other technology give the production a little added twist. Overall, though, this production is basically straightforward Shakespeare.
If you’ve never seen the rarely-performed Coriolanus or you enjoy seeing alternative production styles applied to Shakespeare, you may want to include this show on your Fringe schedule. If you don’t normally fancy Shakespearean tragedy, this production won’t change your view.
- Running Time: 75 minutes
- Tickets: Coriolanus
- Remaining Shows: Sun, July 20 at 2 . Sat, July 26 at 7:30
- Where: Warehouse Next Door, 1017 7th St NW