Best Play


The butt of more jokes than perhaps any other Shakespeare play (partly, no doubt, because of the anatomically suggestive name), Coriolanus, especially as mined by Seattle Shakespeare last winter, is a surprisingly rich thematic stew. The depersonalization and estrangement of warriors, the hypocrisies of politicians, the poignancy and vulgarity of the rabble, and traitorous rapprochement with the enemy jam the tale with jeopardy and feeling. Though side characters seem one-dimensional, the death grip that outsized mother figure Volumnia (Therese Diekhans) exercises on her eponymous son feels as epic as Lady Macbeth's on her husband. MARGARET FRIEDMAN

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