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Tom Hiddleston praised for Coriolanus at London's Donmar

Coriolanus

Compiled by Jack Foley

TOM Hiddleston has won almost universal acclaim for his performance as Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse in London.

Critics have singled out his portrayal as great even though some were slightly less impressed with the production itself.

Charles Spencer, of The Telegraph, labelled the Thor star’s performance as “very special indeed”, writing that “at every stage of his tragic journey, Hiddleston is compelling and persuasive”. The show itself, he said, was flawed but “exciting and intense”.

While The Guardian‘s Michael Billington felt that Hiddleston “conveys the hero’s complexity” as well as his “reckless impetuosity”.

He added that director Josie Rourke “uses the Donmar’s intimacy to come up with a fast, witty, intelligent production”.

Dominic Maxwell, of The Times, found the show “intimate and compelling” and made special mention of a shower scene in which Hiddleston removes his clothes and washes his wounds as one that would be sure to “please the MTV viewers who have just voted Hiddleston the sexiest man in the world”.

David Benedict, of US publication Variety, was also impressed, writing: “Making enthralling theatre out of one of Shakespeare’s best-known titles is one thing. It’s an achievement of an altogether higher order to take the austerely forbidding Coriolanus – an argumentative tragedy discussing the demands of politics and the power of the people – and turn it into a theatrical triumph. But that’s exactly what Donmar Warehouse a.d. Josie Rourke has done.”

However, Quentin Letts, of the Daily Mail, had reservations – stating that the production’s “numerous good points” were “diminished” by Rourke’s “silly directorial touches” – one of which included the shower scene, which he viewed as a “slightly desperate gambit”.

He also sounded a note of caution about Hiddleston, saying that the actor “is perhaps a little too smooth, with too light a voice and too vain an awareness of his hair gel, to convince as a soldiers’ soldier”.

But in the main, the reviews were mostly positive, with Hiddleston’s West End return a triumph.

Hiddleston is, of course, best known to millions for his villainous Loki role in the Thor and Avengers films.

And his first night attracted a high-profile turnout, including Sam Mendes, Sir Nicholas Hytner and the BBC’s John Humphrys.