Review: Coriolanus (The Hypocrites)

| March 11, 2013 | 2 Comments

Jude Roche and Steve O'Connell star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis)        
       
Coriolanus 

Written by William Shakespeare  
Directed by Geoff Button
at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (map)
thru April 23  |  tickets: $28   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
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A high-energy, visual smackdown!

     

Lindsey Gavel and Jude Roche star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis)

    
The Hypocrites presents
    
Coriolanus

Review by Katy Walsh 

The Hypocrites presents Coriolanus.  The world is at war.  Territories are gained and lost by the sword.  Men are fighting for power and honor.  Coriolanus returns home the conquering hero.  His battles were epic. His missions were practically suicidal.  His wounds are fresh.  He did it all for love!  His love of country made him a formidable warrior.   Initially, his return is celebrated in adoration.  Later, the people relinquish their allegiance.  They banish Coriolanus.  What happens when everything you fought for is taken away from you?  Coriolanus attacks with brutal force. 

Lindsey Gavel and Donna McGough star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis)William Shakespeare penned a plot of continuous sword-wielding crusades. The premise is a commercial for the Marines’ core values:  honor, courage, commitment.  Shakespeare went to war on this play. It’s the stuff great video games are made of.  He gave us glimpses at what motivates men to kill.   Under the skillful cutting and direction of Geoff Button, the show is staged in a round and intimate setting.  Button paces the action in front and behind the audience.  Along with fight choreographer Ryan Bourque, Button makes this a high-energy, visceral smackdown.  The skirmishes start organically and explode into a frenzy of limbs and body parts flailing through the air.  It’s intense!  Although Bourque masterfully orchestrates the hostilities within the stage parameters, (I was not quite a passive observer in this war.  I kept moving my purse and toes to ensure I wasn’t accidentally drafted into this bloodbath.) It seems important to note:  No audience members were harmed in the production of Coriolanus … well, at least not at my performance.

This cast is sensational.  They are continually running and literally switching allegiances.  The ensemble changes a shirt to play for the other side.  Their energetic antics are a marvel.  Button emphasizes humorous moments whenever possible.  My favorite actualizations of the comedy are the *citizens*themselves, Bourque, Chris Chmelik, Luke Couzens.  They hilariously morph into a variety of different roles. The trio race from scene to scene and then deliver zings with impeccable timing.  In the lead, Steve O’Connell (Coriolanus) commands the stage with his arrogance and desperation.  O’Connell’s complex relationship with his mother (played by deliciously smothering Donna McGough) and his nemesis (played with equal parts unyielding and tenderness by Jude Roche) provide the thought-provoking sustenance beneath the warfare.  Powerful stuff! In addition, the entire show is lit to intrigue perfection by Lighting Designer Jared Moore

Coriolanus is full-throttle, action-driven theatre.  It’s like the video game “Call of Duty” but written by Shakespeare.  

  
Rating: ★★★½
  
   

Coriolanus continues through April 23rd at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division (map), with performances Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3pm.  Tickets are $28, and are available by phone (773-525-5991) or online through Tix.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at The-Hypocrites.com(Free parking lot at Division & Noble.  Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes without intermission)

Ryan Bollettino, Rob McLean and Greg Hardigan star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis) Steve O' Connell and Donna McGough star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis)
Steve O'Connell, Ryan Bourque, Luke Couzens, Chris Chmelik and Rob McLean star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis) Lindsey Gavel and Jude Roche star in The Hypocrites' "Coriolanus" by William Shakespeare, directed and adapted by Geoff Button. (photo credit: Matthew Gregory Hollis)

Photos by Matthew Gregory Hollis 


     

artists

cast

Ryan Bolletino* (Sicinius), Lindsey Gavel* (Virgilia), Greg Hardigan* (Junius Brutus), Matt Kahler* (Cominius), Eric Leonard (Lartius), Donna McGough* (Volumnia), Rob McLean* (Menenius Agrippa), Steve O’Connell (Coriolanus), Jude Roche (Aufidius), Ryan Bourque*, Chris Chmelik, Luke Couzens (various roles)

behind the scenes

Geoff Button (director)*, Miranda Anderson (stage manager)*, William Boles (scenic designer), Jeremy Floyd (costumes), Jared Moore (lighting)+, Ryan Bourque (fight choreographer)*, Kevin O’Donnell (sound, music designer)+, Matthew Gregory Hollis (photos) 

* denotes company member    + denotes artistic associate

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Category: 2013 Reviews, Chopin Theatre, Hypocrites Theatre, Katy Walsh, William Shakespeare

Comments (2)

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  1. Justin Holt says:

    I have to STRONGLY disagree with this review. I am an avid theater-goes, and this is by far one of the most insufferable productions I’ve ever had to endure. It seems quite clear to me that The Hypocrites’ only goal here was to make Shakespeare LOUDER, and everyone, audience and company alike, suffered for it. Steve O’Connell essentially screams every line of dialogue, which transforms his already contemptuous character into an intolerable, whiny, petulant child on a never-ending tantrum. (Yay for the audience in an intimate setting! Yay for Rome!) And while the “citizens” fulfill their task of mining every chuckle they could possibly squeeze from their dialogue, the rest of the cast seem directionless and, thus, lacking in both character and emotion. Donna McGough is the only true saving grace of this train wreck of a show; alas, even she seemed to have trouble finding her rhythm the night I attended as proven by her multiple flubbed lines.

    Oh, and if that’s not bad enough, the audience is warned that they might get a FEW DROPS of stage blood on them ONLY JUST BEFORE THE SHOW IS ABOUT TO START! It’s machine-washable, of course, but one might think it prudent to notify attendees of such things AT THE BOX OFFICE. And, no, I wasn’t in the section that literally got a FULL SPRAY (oops?), but I could certainly tell from across the way that they were none too happy about the SHEER AMOUNT of splatter on their faces and clothes.

    (Also, was anyone else annoyed that the set design was essentially recycled from The Pirates of Penzance? Wooden pallets as a walkway? Again? Why even bother this time around?)

    Listen, I don’t mind when performers skillfully turn things up to 11. I’m not an old man. I’m 31. I love rock concerts and cranking up my car stereo to the max and watching shit blow up at the movies just like the next red-blooded prole. But when one confuses relentless shouting with intense emoting, we’re left with nothing more than empty bombast.

    “Enough, with over-measure,” Brutus HOLLERS halfway through the show. I couldn’t have said it better — and that’s the real tragedy here.

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