Coriolanus Vanishes (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh)

Posted: August 12, 2018 in Theatre

Writer and director: David Leddy


Having little to do with Shakespeare’s bloody tale of Roman power politics, David Leddy’s new intimate  70-minute monologue is a mournful poem about love, loss and human connections.

The central character is Chris, who talks philosophically about his relationships with his parents, his wife, their adopted young son and also with his gay lover Paul. “I’m trying to be happy, but it’s just out of reach. Always has been” bemoans Chris, setting the tone for a piece that is defiantly cheerless, with touches of existentialism.

The production is staged on a raised circular platform, with an old-fashioned wooden desk and chair. Leddy has himself performed the role of Chris, but, here, it falls to Irene Allan, gender blind casting that has advantages and disadvantages, Her soft tones and natural warmth highlight Chris’s vulnerability and confusion, but she cannot be fully the character that the play is describing and a work that is already enigmatic becomes even more so.

Short scenes follow-each other non-sequentially, making what narrative the play has feel irrelevant. Muddying the waters further, Leddy throws in views about the United Kingdom’s ambiguous relationship with Saudi Arabia. It always feels as if the the writer is more concerned with ambiguity than with clarity or purpose and, too often, what we hear comes across as random, disconnected thoughts, beautifully written and spoken, but difficult to engage with.

Performance date: 5 August 2018

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub:

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