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This review is from: Coriolanus - BBC Shakespeare Collection  (DVD)
In Elijah Moshinsky's seminal production of Coriolanus for the BBC, a masterpiece is created. The production eschews traditional theatrical staples such as characterisation and passion to deliver a hauntingly bestilled interpretation. This passivity of performance appears to have evolved through groundbreaking lack of rehearsal and a refusal of actors to familiarise themselves with the script, or indeed the plot, of the play in advance of filming. The result is a turgidity of performance in which Moshinksy and his cutting crew deserve immense credit for editing out every instance of "Erm, line?"
Alan Howard's rambling monotonal rendition of Marcius is impressive for its eclectic construction, tapping into the depths of Blackadderian gurnage and the gorge-rising warped tonality of Vincent Price in Thriller voice-over mode.
Tipping the hat to Brecht's Coriolan, this performance takes the theatrical concept of defamiliarisation into daring new territory, by encouraging the audience to defamiliarise themselves from the work long before the end. Thus, the mystery of whether this is in fact a tragedy or not is, for most, maintained, as watching to the end could only be achieved by those viewers willing to flay themselves with nettles to distract themselves from the sheer agony of this production.