Coriolanus

Critics

LemonMeter

96 %

Reviews: 12

Audience

LemonMeter

Reviews: 0

Kicking off the Theatricum Botanicum 2018 season on June 2 will be William Shakespeare's Coriolanus, co-directed by Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall and featuring David DeSantos in the title role. An allegory for today's tumultuous times, Shakespeare's searing tragedy is a cautionary tale of political manipulation and revenge. Rome, a city where the one-percenters rule, is led by a populist general who has nothing but contempt for the common people. Unable to reconcile his disdain for the citizens with his love of country, Coriolanus finds himself driven into the embrace of his sworn enemy. Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura (101) Freeway. The amphitheaters are terraced into the hillside, so audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Patrons are welcome to arrive early and picnic before a performance.

Reviews

Avatar

Maybe a good idea to read a synopsis if you aren't familiar with the story line on this one (I had not read it or seen a performance prior to this one), but even if you can't name all the characters and trace their family and party lines afterward, it's a rowdy good time with a lot of talent on the broad stage at one time!

sweet - Carol Edger-Germain - Colorado Boulevard - ...read full review


Avatar

Though Coriolanus takes place in ancient Rome, its themes and characters feel pertinent to our world today. This play isn't produced as often as some of Shakespeare's other great tragedies, and it is a treat to see it at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum in that theatre's beautiful and intimate woodland setting.

The space has multiple levels and this production makes great use of them all. As for set pieces, there is a bust on a pedestal up left to help signify Rome, and a purple flag down right to signify Corioli, and not much else. Not much else is needed. The company does all the work here, and the action moves swiftly.

sweet - Michael Doherty - ...read full review


Avatar

For a tale in which fickle, ungrateful masses play as vital a role as any in the Bard's canon, Coriolanus benefits from being able to fill a stage. Geer and Marshall have plenty of bodies. Whether they're enacting the starving commoners that our titular anti-hero spurns, the Volscian followers of Coriolanus's enemy Tullus Aufidius or an array of Vestal Virgins, this ensemble is bountiful and in fine mettle throughout.

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

As always, Theatricum Botanicum has nailed Shakespeare. There's something invigorating about seeing soldiers clashing, swords and shields drawn, while they sprint around the mountainside with testosterone-laced excitement. The outdoor venue never fails to bring a new vigor to a tale first told hundreds of years ago. Special kudos to directors Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall, who keep the action moving at lightning speed. While this is not Shakespeare's most profound play, it has enough combat to keep the audience attentive. Fight choreographers Dane Oliver and Aaron Hendry have outdone themselves. Despite a temperature hovering in the triple digits, the ensemble convincingly fought to the death. The entire cast and production crew deserve a high-five for again bringing Shakespeare to contemporary audiences with skillful and adroit competence.

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue

But all we the audience got was the plot, with individual actors portraying the emotional truths of their moments. All well and good that, especially since the plot proves compelling. Lacking a unifying idea, however, the play becomes nothing but a plot. Note please this is different from taking sides or necessarily pushing a message, but more like focusing on what questions does this production wish to explore? What moments and decisions are most important? Without that, pretty much any of Shakespeare's plays becomes nothing but a well done soap opera.

sweet-sour - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


Avatar

Kudos to Theatricum for producing something a little out of the norm (of course, this summer, they're also giving their audiences the more recognizable Midsummer). I mean, how many chances do you get to see Coriolanus? In a beautiful outdoor setting? With standout performances?

Not many, my friends. So take advantage of your opportunity, now through mid-September.

sweet - Bill Walthall, The Bill / Shakepeare Project - ...read full review


Avatar

There are plenty of exciting fight scenes, choreographed by Aaron Hendry and Dane Oliver. The performance is enhanced by Marshall McDaniel's original music and sound design.

Time goes by quickly while watching this production of CORIOLANUS, which is always a sign that the cast has captured your fancy and taken you along for the story.

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sights - ...read full review


Avatar

This acting troupe performed intricate sword fighting stunts. These were epic scenes that covered the entire stage area from forest to audience to theater doors. The entire theater became part of the story. Actors even sat next to audience members and interacted with them.

sweet - Kriss Perras - Topanga Journal - ...read full review


Avatar

...CRACKING… the entire production is a triumph… powerful performances...

sweet - Claire Fordham - Messenger Mountain News - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The Theatricum Botanicum production is an extravaganza boasting a cast of fifty-eight that fill the stage with action. The acting is big and declamatory, de rigueur for an outdoor theatre... Coriolanus is not an easy show. It can challenge an audience with its language and unfamiliar story... Readers, grab this chance to experience this remarkable production. You may not have another chance.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

WGTB gives us what could be called “three dimensional theater.”... Especially spellbinding are the mob and battle scenes, co-directed with panache by Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall (who also co-star as Coriolanus' mother, Volumnia and Senator Menenius Agrippa). Today's jaded auds are used to CGI and other special FX rendering virtual reality on the silver screen, but this live presentation of Coriolanus, with throngs of thesps clad in togas and sandals duly dueling is extremely exciting. With more actors than this math-challenged reviewer could count, WGTB vividly brings to life fights to the death in ancient Rome.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Ellen Dostal

The Geer women are supremely in their element in the production. Ellen Geer's Volumnia is a deliciously troubling blend of domineering mother and giddy girlfriend, which blurs the lines of familial norms. She flutters like a butterfly and strikes like a viper, always adjusting her strategy to find the best method of persuasion. Costume designer Robert Merkel has made bubblegum pink her accent color, a choice that not only sets her apart from everyone else on stage, but also reminds us this is a woman whose feminine wiles are always at play. For Melora Marshall, Merkel has created a cloud of white to clothe an aristocrat with a silver tongue. Marshall takes on the role of Menenius, a senator typically cast as a man, but the gender change works so beautifully it is a wonder the role isn't played by a woman more often. And, oh, the honeyed tones of her skillful machinations. She talks the crowd down from revolt with the fable of the belly, a pretty speech about how one part of the state cannot exist without the other, and repeatedly sculpts the conversation with wit and humor.

sweet - Ellen Dostal - BroadwayWorld Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

Maybe a good idea to read a synopsis if you aren't familiar with the story line on this one (I had not read it or seen a performance prior to this one), but even if you can't name all the characters and trace their family and party lines afterward, it's a rowdy good time with a lot of talent on the broad stage at one time!

sweet - Carol Edger-Germain - Colorado Boulevard - ...read full review


Avatar

Though Coriolanus takes place in ancient Rome, its themes and characters feel pertinent to our world today. This play isn't produced as often as some of Shakespeare's other great tragedies, and it is a treat to see it at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum in that theatre's beautiful and intimate woodland setting.

The space has multiple levels and this production makes great use of them all. As for set pieces, there is a bust on a pedestal up left to help signify Rome, and a purple flag down right to signify Corioli, and not much else. Not much else is needed. The company does all the work here, and the action moves swiftly.

sweet - Michael Doherty - ...read full review


Avatar

For a tale in which fickle, ungrateful masses play as vital a role as any in the Bard's canon, Coriolanus benefits from being able to fill a stage. Geer and Marshall have plenty of bodies. Whether they're enacting the starving commoners that our titular anti-hero spurns, the Volscian followers of Coriolanus's enemy Tullus Aufidius or an array of Vestal Virgins, this ensemble is bountiful and in fine mettle throughout.

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

As always, Theatricum Botanicum has nailed Shakespeare. There's something invigorating about seeing soldiers clashing, swords and shields drawn, while they sprint around the mountainside with testosterone-laced excitement. The outdoor venue never fails to bring a new vigor to a tale first told hundreds of years ago. Special kudos to directors Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall, who keep the action moving at lightning speed. While this is not Shakespeare's most profound play, it has enough combat to keep the audience attentive. Fight choreographers Dane Oliver and Aaron Hendry have outdone themselves. Despite a temperature hovering in the triple digits, the ensemble convincingly fought to the death. The entire cast and production crew deserve a high-five for again bringing Shakespeare to contemporary audiences with skillful and adroit competence.

sweet - Elaine Mura - LA Splash - ...read full review


David MacDowell Blue

But all we the audience got was the plot, with individual actors portraying the emotional truths of their moments. All well and good that, especially since the plot proves compelling. Lacking a unifying idea, however, the play becomes nothing but a plot. Note please this is different from taking sides or necessarily pushing a message, but more like focusing on what questions does this production wish to explore? What moments and decisions are most important? Without that, pretty much any of Shakespeare's plays becomes nothing but a well done soap opera.

sweet-sour - David MacDowell Blue - Night Tinted Glasses - ...read full review


Avatar

Kudos to Theatricum for producing something a little out of the norm (of course, this summer, they're also giving their audiences the more recognizable Midsummer). I mean, how many chances do you get to see Coriolanus? In a beautiful outdoor setting? With standout performances?

Not many, my friends. So take advantage of your opportunity, now through mid-September.

sweet - Bill Walthall, The Bill / Shakepeare Project - ...read full review


Avatar

There are plenty of exciting fight scenes, choreographed by Aaron Hendry and Dane Oliver. The performance is enhanced by Marshall McDaniel's original music and sound design.

Time goes by quickly while watching this production of CORIOLANUS, which is always a sign that the cast has captured your fancy and taken you along for the story.

sweet - Dena Burroughs - The Fume of Sights - ...read full review


Avatar

This acting troupe performed intricate sword fighting stunts. These were epic scenes that covered the entire stage area from forest to audience to theater doors. The entire theater became part of the story. Actors even sat next to audience members and interacted with them.

sweet - Kriss Perras - Topanga Journal - ...read full review


Avatar

...CRACKING… the entire production is a triumph… powerful performances...

sweet - Claire Fordham - Messenger Mountain News - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The Theatricum Botanicum production is an extravaganza boasting a cast of fifty-eight that fill the stage with action. The acting is big and declamatory, de rigueur for an outdoor theatre... Coriolanus is not an easy show. It can challenge an audience with its language and unfamiliar story... Readers, grab this chance to experience this remarkable production. You may not have another chance.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Avatar

WGTB gives us what could be called “three dimensional theater.”... Especially spellbinding are the mob and battle scenes, co-directed with panache by Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall (who also co-star as Coriolanus' mother, Volumnia and Senator Menenius Agrippa). Today's jaded auds are used to CGI and other special FX rendering virtual reality on the silver screen, but this live presentation of Coriolanus, with throngs of thesps clad in togas and sandals duly dueling is extremely exciting. With more actors than this math-challenged reviewer could count, WGTB vividly brings to life fights to the death in ancient Rome.

sweet - Ed Rampell - Hollywood Progressive - ...read full review


Ellen Dostal

The Geer women are supremely in their element in the production. Ellen Geer's Volumnia is a deliciously troubling blend of domineering mother and giddy girlfriend, which blurs the lines of familial norms. She flutters like a butterfly and strikes like a viper, always adjusting her strategy to find the best method of persuasion. Costume designer Robert Merkel has made bubblegum pink her accent color, a choice that not only sets her apart from everyone else on stage, but also reminds us this is a woman whose feminine wiles are always at play. For Melora Marshall, Merkel has created a cloud of white to clothe an aristocrat with a silver tongue. Marshall takes on the role of Menenius, a senator typically cast as a man, but the gender change works so beautifully it is a wonder the role isn't played by a woman more often. And, oh, the honeyed tones of her skillful machinations. She talks the crowd down from revolt with the fable of the belly, a pretty speech about how one part of the state cannot exist without the other, and repeatedly sculpts the conversation with wit and humor.

sweet - Ellen Dostal - BroadwayWorld Los Angeles - ...read full review