May 9, 2019
Shakespeare's penetrating portrayal of political turmoil in a society at war with itself. The Plot There's widespread famine in Rome, which is causing tension between the common people and the patricians (the aristocrats). The people particularly hate Caius Martius, the arrogant son of Volumnia, and the feeling is mutual. The citizens think the patricians are hoarding corn for themselves. They rise up, and are given two people's representatives (tribunes) who will sit in the Senate. The unrest is halted by war with neighbouring Volscians. In the battle of Corioli, Caius Martius leads the army to victory and is honoured with the name Coriolanus. When they get back to Rome, the patricians insist Coriolanus gains the consulship (the highest elected office). To do this, he has to make a public display of humility in front of the citizens, which he attempts, but is unable to mask his contempt for them. The citizens banish Coriolanus from Rome. In revenge, Coriolanus joins with his former enemies, the Volscians, and they march on Rome. It is only through the intervention of Coriolanus's wife, mother and son that he halts the attack. Peace returns, but Coriolanus is killed by the Volscians. Coriolanus . . . Trystan Gravelle Volumnia . . . Diana Rigg Menenius . . . James Fleet Cominius . . . Paul Hilton Sicinius . . . Tony Turner Brutus . . . Joel MacCormack Lartius . . . David Hounslow Aufidius . . . Ray Fearon Virgilia . . . Clare Corbett Valeria . . . Susan Jameson Gentlewoman . . . Franchi Webb with Michael Bertenshaw, Kenny Blyth, Joseph Ayre and Christopher Harper Directed by Marc Beeby Originally aired on BBC Radio 3.