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Coriolanus Vanishes – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Writer and Director: David Leddy

Reviewer: Stephen Bates

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 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.

Runs until 26 August 2018 | Image: Contributed

Writer and Director: David Leddy Reviewer: Stephen Bates 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…

Review Overview

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Enigmatic

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The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

2 comments

  1. Avatar

    The play’s about a bisexual woman. Not a man. Not sure I really trust the rest of your review, to be honest if you can’t even understand that. Also, what’s wrong with ambiguity?

  2. Avatar
    Graham McCade

    Stephen Bates, I saw Coriolanus Vanishes and the main character is not a man. David Leddy’s notes on the programme made this clear. Chris is a woman married to a woman and has an affair with a man. The play is gender neutral, not the character, therefore she can fully be the character the play is describing. The point is that it can be played as a male or female. One of the interesting aspects of the play is how as an audience member you sympathise with the character of Chris and whether you would have felt differently if you had seen it being played by a male. Thought provoking.