The Power and the Gory

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Richard II & Coriolanus
By William Shakespeare
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn
718-636-4100

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Without taking an ideological stance, Kent allows the story to tumble forward at an engaging clip. He is well served by his veteran actors, particularly Oliver Ford Davies as the pandering patrician Menenius and Barbara Jefford as the glowering, Juno-like Volumnia—a juggernaut of maternal determination. It's clear from the outset that her far less intimidating son doesn't stand a chance against her. This is why his collapse at the end, when she begs him not to take vengeance against Rome for having banished him, has so little impact. The knockout is inevitable; Fiennes is just too nice a guy to tell his mother no.

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