Coriolanus Vanishes @ Traverse Theatre
Coriolanus Vanishes examines a single human in microscopic detail, whose life is one tiny example for a case in which Leddy has the whole world on trial
Coriolanus Vanishes begins and ends with a gasp. First, the Traverse is plunged into darkness and the light, when it returns, cuts in sharp flashes across Chris’s (Irene Allen) face and hands. In this one-woman avalanche of a performance, Allen’s hands speak almost more than her fast, fast mouth; she cuts a snowflake from paper with flashing scissors, discarding shredded lines of A4 as she quips about cocaine, or she lazily waves a single finger as if conducting the world’s most pointless PowerPoint presentation.
Written by David Leddy and originally performed by him, too, Chris could be anyone. Dressed in a smart suit and burgundy boots (for a: funeral, interview, court case?), Allen pushes and pulls a rapt audience through a rapid, twisting monologue that mangles Shakespeare and the horror of contemporary news cycles, trying to discern if Chris is capable of love. Or, being loved? Can a person’s life contain love if it also contains selfish, shameless, unpunished greed?
In the thick of the action is a heavy wooden desk – the kind of desk that emulates stern patriarchal power, with thick legs that look like the pillars of immoral corporate business. Rarely does Allen not have a hand (or a foot) upon its glossy surface as she reveals a series of increasingly disturbing memories and confessions. The stage is slick and stylish, scribbled over by red lasers that fragment like broken hashtags (designed by Nich Smith). Disaster snowballs: avoidable cruelties stack on top of unavoidable coincidences – but is Chris just unlucky? Is that it? Coriolanus Vanishes examines a single human in microscopic detail, whose life is one tiny example for a case in which Leddy has the whole world on trial.
Coriolanus Vanishes, Traverse Theatre, until 26 Aug, various times, £20.50 (£15.50)
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