Travelling Hero

G.R. Wilson Knight

  • Coriolanus in Europe by David Daniell
    Athlone, 168 pp, £9.95, October 1980, ISBN 0 485 11192 6

This is a valuable account, written by a first-hand reporter, of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s tour with Coriolanus, directed by Terry Hands, to Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and Zurich. The company were known to Europe from previous visits, but it was a bold adventure, the bolder for the play chosen. It is far from easy in style, and only too likely to baffle a foreign audience, but if fully understood it is instead likely to channel fierce political passions. It had already had a recent showing, in adaptations by Brecht and Hollmann, the latter more in the nature of a parody, and the dangers, one way or another, were evident. I say ‘one way or another’ because Coriolanus might be seen as either Fascist or Communist propaganda, according to how one responds to the Shakespearian balance.

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