When Tom Hiddleston was announced as playing the eponymous Coriolanus in the newest adaption at the Donmar Warehouse a sell out show was pretty much guaranteed. Despite trying my hardest on Monday mornings to snag a pair of Barclays Front Row £10 tickets I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to settle for the National Theatre Live screening at my local Cineworld. An additional 6 performances were then added to the end of the run and the only way to get tickets was to enter the raffle for the opportunity to buy up to two tickets. Having already entered myself I persuaded Matt to do the same when we went to the Nicola Bryant Misty Moon event. Sods law said that he was successful whereas I wasn’t but I don’t call him my best frex for nothing and I got to go along with him to the show on Monday night.
I’d still been to see the NT Live showing a couple of weeks ago and I’m glad that I did as while I was able to follow along with the story quite well I was a bit confused as to why certain things were happening so a quick google between then and actually seeing it helped to clear up one or two things I wasn’t sure of. The first thing I was struck by upon entering the Donmar was how tiny the place was! Similar to when I went to see Richard II the seats go round three sides of the stage and there were only a maximum of 5 rows to each part! We were right in the centre of row C at the front and had a pretty amazing view. Seeing the stage for real as opposed to on the big screen gave me a better appreciation of how they used the space to their advantage. I already loved the use they made of the chairs to indicate different scenes in the play and the music as well while if you weren’t watching it you would think was an odd choice actually worked perfectly.
The casting couldn’t have been better and I’m not just saying that because Tom is a little bit pretty. (OK so he’s a LOT prettier in real life!) Alfred Enoch, of Harry Potter fame, has grown into a cracking stage actor and both Deborah Findlay and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen played his grieving mother and wife perfectly. Plus of course the genius casting of Mark Gatiss as Menenius. In fact we were so glued to the performance that both myself and Matt failed to notice that Benedict Cumberbatch was in the row in front of us for the entire bloody performance and I don’t think I can give it any higher praise than that! Sadly tonight’s performance is the last of the extended run but there is a National Theatre Live Encore screening being shown at selected Cineworld’s on Monday 3rd March and I thoroughly recommend going along if you weren’t able to make the show.
I was however really saddened to hear of reports that Tom and Benedict were chased through Covent Garden by so called fans waiting for autographs. I’m a huge geek and have been known to politely wait at the stage door after a performance in the hopes of gaining an autograph and photo with the stars. This is not a right. They are just people, doing their job and while I’m sure they love to hear that their work is appreciated to be hounded is just plain wrong.