What you need to know Critics are raving about Tom Hiddleston's "magnificent" performance in the Donmar Theatre's new production of Shakespeare's political tragedy Coriolanus. Hiddleston (Loki in Thor) stars in the title role of Shakespeare's doomed general.
Set in ancient Rome, it follows the story of Coriolanus, a heroic but arrogant general who has returned from defending the city. Back in Rome, Coriolanus finds that the realities of politics and an ungrateful populace harsher than any battlefield.
Josie Rourke directs the production, with Birgitte Hjort Sorensen (Borgen's Katrine Fonsmark). Donmar Theatre, London, until 8 February.
What the critics like This stark, swiftly paced version of Shakespeare's severe Roman play elicits "a performance of blazing stellar power from Tom Hiddleston", says Paul Taylor in The Independent. Hiddleston's magnificent performance compels you to feel what an awful fate it is to be Coriolanus, while the intimacy of the space gives the epic proceedings a shocking visceral immediacy. This is an exciting and intense production, with Hiddleston delivering "a powerhouse performance" in the title role, says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. There is no mistaking its dramatic energy, while the mixture of charisma and emotional truth in Hiddleston's performance is very special indeed.
Hiddleston is "the ideal combination of emotional reserve and physical bravura" for this blazing but bleak Coriolanus, says Susannah Clapp in The Observer. It's a fleshy, blood-soaked production, that is not sympathy-seeking but intimate.
What they don't like Coriolanus is Shakespeare's least likeable hero but director Josie Rourke allows Hiddleston to be properly dashing, before showing us what makes him insufferable, says Maxie Szalwinska in the Sunday Times. Still, Rourke "could push harder at the play's central conundrums", and Borgen's Birgitte Hjort Sorensen is underused. ·