July 20, 2014

Red by Blank Space Theatre, Esplanade Theatre Studio, 13 July 2014

My apologies for the delayed entry, caused by a really busy work schedule this past week.

As mentioned previously, I was drawn to this play for 2 main reasons: a script penned by John Logan ( Gladiator, Skyfall ), and Gavin Yap, who impressed me greatly in Pangdemonium's Fat Pig earlier this year.

The production was, in my opinion, incredible. The last live performance I saw at this venue was Pangdemonium's Gruesome Playground Injuries in late 2013. And I did NOT enjoy it, despite trying my best to do so.

Red, on the other hand, was a joy to behold. The small, intimate space worked extremely well as the audience was fully immersed in the artist's studio. I especially appreciate how the actors literally got their hands dirty, mixing paints and priming a canvas with admirable skill. I made sure to sit in the first row - partly for more leg room, but also because that's where you get the best view. However, the additional olfactory stimulation was a treat, from the tangy scent of the paints to the spicy aroma from the hot noodles. Definitely added a whole new dimension to the experience!

Featuring only 2 actors, Logan's play is designed as a constant battle of wits. Though it initially appears the young Ken may be no match for the celebrated, arrogant Mark Rothko, as the show progresses, we see the tables gradually turn.

A certain local journalist's review described the script as "whiny", which I find utterly laughable. I'd like to see her say this to the author's face someday, if she dares.

Logan's mastery of the English language is exquisite. Art is something I know very little about ( multiple attempts to understand its concepts have unfortunately failed, though I greatly enjoy visits to museums when I travel ), yet as the play progressed, it became apparent that it actually wasn't just about art, but much more universal themes.

Anyone who's ever created something s/he cares about deeply will understand why Rothko protected his work like a neurotic parent. And the fascinating argument about artistic integrity versus ego-boosting public reverence and greed - that can apply to any profession.

Two verbal exchanges also stood out: first, an early debate about what the colour red means to each character, in which Ken's choices ( among them fruits and Santa Claus ) contrasted starkly with Rothko's ( blood and Nazism ). The second was close to the finale - when Ken's heated criticism of Rothko's "selling out" resulted in a major turn of events.

However, I found the entire 2-hour performance riveting. Logan's script is instrumental, of course, but the cast and director are also key to its success.

Daniel Jenkins was fantastic as Rothko. Trust me, it is NOT easy to talk non-stop for 120 minutes, especially when the language is so flowery. In addition, Rothko is depicted as an insanely high-strung Type A personality who views the world around him with bitter disdain. I can only imagine how exhausting it must have been for Jenkins, especially on days when there was more than one show.

Rothko isn't meant to be likable, but there's no denying his brilliance. It is to Jenkins' huge credit that he never dropped a single line or ran out of steam throughout the entire performance. In fact, I consider it on par with a Broadway show I caught recently, i.e. Bryan Cranston's Tony Award-winning turn as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way. Both men were proud and difficult, yet also plagued by crippling insecurities. Roles which could've easily degenerated into annoying melodrama in less capable hands, but which instead rank as two of the most memorable portrayals I have ever seen.

Gavin Yap has been described as "stiff" in a few of the reviews I've read, but personally speaking, I didn't notice any such thing. In fact, during the post-show dialogue, someone asked about this particular aspect of his performance, and he confirmed that it was a conscious decision. Anyway, those of you who've seen Gavin in The Importance of Being Earnest and Fat Pig will no doubt agree that "stiff" isn't his style. And besides, the last 15 minutes of the play highlight Ken's true strength to full effect, and it is glorious. Gavin continues to impress me, and I look forward to his next theatrical project - a play titled Tribes with Pangdemonium in 2015.

Many kudos to director Samantha Scott-Blackhall, whose work I watched for the very first time that day. During the post-show Q&A, she spoke about the research that went into the production, and her dedication is truly admirable. The play was expertly paced, the performances nuanced yet powerful. One must never underestimate the importance of the director - something I learned after watching The Realistic Joneses on Broadway a few months ago, in which 4 Hollywood stars languished due to weak direction.

It was also very heartening to see a packed studio that afternoon ( with a few shows selling out during its short 4-day run ). Questions posed during the dialogue were insightful, and the director and cast's enthusiastic participation is most appreciated.

Blank Space Theatre has won over a new fan! Hopefully, I will be able to catch its future productions. Keep up the excellent work. :)

The Pillowman by Couch Theatre 17/7/14

Couch Theatre returns with their second production, Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, a black comedy police procedural where writer Katurian (Lim Shien Hian) is accused of the murder of several children, and is interrogated by detectives Tupolski (Uday Duggal) and Ariel (Ziyad Bagharib). Also involved is his invalid brother Michal (Shrey Bhargava) and Katurian's gruesome short stories and everyone's problem childhoods.

I didn't watch SRT's 2008 production, but I did read the script beforehand, and was drawn to its powerful language, vivid and often clever stories and its dark and witty concept.Yet, the script itself is not without its problems, often bogging down the audience with lengthy and sometimes unecessary dialogue. The Katurian/Michal scene borders on frustrating, and you'd wish one of them died in the middle of the scene, because that scene just felt like it went on forever, without truly establishing a strong brotherly bond between the two.

Of course, this may not actually be a script problem, but perhaps a miscasting of Shien Hian as Katurian. Having seen Shien Hian act before, he is by no means an incapable actor. However, Katurian is perhaps a role better suited for someone else. As the main character who has gone through a particularly troubled childhood and ending up writing disturbing, dark stories, one would imagine him to be a little more off the rocker, and having some nervous tics of some sort, which was absent in this production. I also often found myself drifting off when he narrated stories, because of his voice, which seemed to hit the emphases in all the wrong places. I could never really get into the idea that Katurian was that into his stories, and overall, he lacked presence. I'm impressed by the number of lines he memorized and the physical beatings endured onstage, but that's not enough. Ziyad as Ariel was also problematic for me, as he put on an accent that often made him swallow his words, and some of his actions onstage seemed robotic and awkward. Overall, he felt less like a bad cop than an actor who was turning on and turning off the rage button as and when required. It felt more forced than natural, and that was very off putting. Perhaps this was a directorial problem that could have been better handled if he'd been asked to be more natural onstage.

Shrey as Michal was alright. Getting bogged down by his long, tedious duologue with Katurian didn't help though, and it contributed to his character appearing more irritating than sympathetic. The acting lacked a certain depth and dimension, and Shrey could have added an air of mystery as opposed to a standard invalid brother. I didn't want to like Michal at all, because after a while, he just got on my nerves after I tried really hard to find something likeable about him. Shrey embodied the playful, unassuming aspect of Michal, however, did not pinpoint the bits where he could have milked the character for his potential darkness and sinister-ness, leaving the character flat and a caricature.

However, credit must be given where it's due, and Pillowman's standout players are Uday Duggal as detective Tupolski and the gorgeously handpainted mural inspired by graffitti art. Uday's acting reminds me heavily of Adrian Pang's, and his demeanour and style carries a certain maturityand awareness that is lacking in the other 3 actors. As Tupolski, he knew how to milk his lines for maximum audience response and was a joy to watch onstage, whether intentionally or not, for both the humour and his interactions with the other actors onstage. The set was amazing, no question about it, with a sparse grey cell overshadowed by a tall wall looming over the audience, filled with gorgeously painted murals by artist Seet Yun Teng, depicting the stories featured in Pillowman (minus the Pillowman himself, which looked less like a pillowman and more like the Stay-Puft man from Ghostbusters). The murals were mesmerizing, and while relating to the overall theme of the play itself, reminding me of the Berlin wall and fascist/totalitarian governance, still did not distract the audience too much from the main action happening onstage.

Also worth mentioning would be the two story sequences acted out onstage by Cheryl Foo, Salif Hardie and Hanis Nazierah. The sequences were smooth and visually impactful, and the direction here was wonderful, particularly Hanis as a spritely, energetic and rebellious young girl slowly broken into submission, almost like watching a dance performance. Cheryl played the mother roles in the sequences, and I admit that if anyone ever does a production of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, she'd be the first person I want to see as The Other Mother (if you don't get the reference, ignore me). Cheryl deliciously works her way around as a creepy, otherworldly maternal figure, and her facial expressions, ranging from sinister-ly sweet to sneering, are spot on.

Following on the heels of SRT's 2008 production, starring theatre stalwarts like Adrian Pang, is certainly a daunting prospect. The problem with plays about adults unfortunately, is that despite theatre's ability to create a suspension of disbelief, ultimately, some plays do require adults to take on the roles, and when the cast is unable to look adult and bring that age to stage, the illusion is broken, and the play comes off as stuck in a school drama club. No doubt these are some talented actors, and there were times where the cast came together and hit all the right notes, but perhaps they flew just a little too close to the sun and fell flat, for a number of scenes. Perhaps the problem here was that the actors were directed to play straight to the script, and lacked multi-dimensionality, ending up as flat archetypes rather than fully fleshed out characters (save for Uday). The pacing also faced several problems, with about half the first scene feeling like the actors were rushing through it, and the entire second scene feeling more than a little too long.

I'm glad that Couch is going strong and attempted to challenge themselves with this piece, which was a lot more accessible than last year's Melancholy Play, so perhaps their next production in December will hit the closer to the mark, with an original script and changeup in direction. Kudos to the effort and it's wonderful to see young theatre companies get serious about it and not choose to just 'stop at one'.

JustWatchLah Rating: 3/5

Red by Blank Space Theatre 10/7/14

Red is a thinly veiled discursion on art and the artist's intent framed by the working relationship between abstract artist Mark Rothko and his assistant. Rothko has been tasked to paint some murals for a swanky new restaurant, gets paid a hefty sum, and has to decide whether or not it's worth it to sacrifice artistic integrity for money (the answer is apparently no).

It's an interesting premise, with Ken (played by a surprisingly fiesty Gavin Yap, last seen in Pangdemonium!'s Fat Pig) as the foil to Daniel Jenkins' Mark Rothko. Rothko puts up a strong front, fiercely putting down Ken and his idealistic young artist point of view and lauding his works of genius. Daniel Jenkins is one of those actors who seems able to transform into literally any and every role. (though not as adept as some, I'm looking at you Antonio!) Although there are no vocal records of Mark Rothko, Jenkins' interpretation of Rothko impressed me, playing a fierce, convicted artist, with his own share of unvoiced insecurities. Gavin Yap did a decent job as Ken as well, although he appeared a little stiff at the start, he quickly grew more likeable as the play progressed, and I'm convinced of his abilities and potential as an actor in the local scene.

There's no question why the script won its share of Tony awards; it's energetic, hits the humorous and deep moments at all the right notes, and despite the characters acting as the vessel for the argument, they have still been well fleshed out by their lines and actions, with little idiosyncrasies and drama that adds humanity and depth.

In terms of direction, I enjoyed the sequence where both actors were painting the blank canvas red. It doesn't actually say much, but the dynamic action coupled with the music was pretty fun to watch.

I thought the immersive set by Wong Chee Wai was gorgeous, transforming the entire Esplanade Theatre Studio into a literal art studio, with talls walls and actual abstract art pieces hung all around. With the black box setting and 2 man cast, it creates a sense of intimacy with the audience and really allowed for them to focus on the play and the arguments at hand.

Overall, a simple enough setup with a strong cast and interesting enough plot to keep you on the edge of your seat and hanging on to the argument. There's a conclusion to it all though, and you'll be happy to know that art wins out in the end.

JustWatchLah Rating: 3.75/5

July 8, 2014

Dark Room x8 by Edith Podesta 5/7/14 (Matinee)

Adapted from interviews Podesta conducted with inmates and ex-inmates amounting to over 16 hours long, Dark Room is yet another play in the increasingly popular 'interview style' scripts, and manages to tell a complete recollection of the experience of a short term prison stay, from arrest to release.

Theatre has always been about giving a voice to the unheard in society, and Dark Room does this with aplomb. At times darkly humorous and others deeply reflective, the interviews, strung together by the narrative of eight inmates housed in a 5m by 5m cell, 23 hours a day, are unerringly real and frank. One can't help but wonder how much artistic license was taken with the script. If anything, when compared to characters from Square Moon (2013) or Gemuk Girls (2008), the men in Dark Room feel like much more relatable human beings (though Gemuk Girls did a pretty darn good job of making me cry). These are men who were jailed not for political purposes, but because they actually consciously carried out a crime. This is a fact that stayed with me throughout the play, and kept thinking about every time I felt sorry for them, and it tears you apart not knowing how you should feel for these people.

The script's strengths lie in the unexpected tender moments between the men. Much of the script is told in monologue, and any interaction between men only to show an aspect of prison life. There is no part of the script that actually involves them speaking to each other, and in this sense, you get an intense feeling of solitude from the men while they address us individually. Coming into prison as an individual, bonds are formed with the other inmates, and then leaving, again as an individual. There is a constant sense of claustrophobia as the interviewees describe the constraints of the area and living conditions, though you never get the impression of actual suffering. This is not Oz, where prisoners plot against each other and end up in fights and dropping the soap leads to other things.

The minimalist set works well to recreate the prison environment and the descriptions from the interviewees alone are enough to carry the audience's imagination where the play needs it to. Edith Podesta once again proves her directing prowess with simple but effective direction and choreography that echoes the monotony and sparse nature of prison life. The new trend of using unexpected lighting in recycled materials works like a charm here, with the lights set up in plastic boxes, casting an alien glow across the stage during blackouts. 

I particularly enjoyed how despite there being eight distinct characters, all the dialogue was so well interwoven that it felt like a single person's narrative as opposed to a disparate group of people. The flow was great and the actors, most of them veterans, carried the characters well (who doesn't love Timothy Nga playing the token gay character?).

I'd love to see Dark Room adapted into a full scale production and gain a greater audience-ship. For what it's worth, Dark Room has certainly cast new light on the plight and experiences of Singaporean inmates.  

July 7, 2014

《水往上流》Fluid by The Theatre Practice (4 July 2014)

I must say, 《水往上流》Fluid left a good aftertaste, like water to the dry parched lips of a desert trekker. And the audience's journey in Fluid is akin to a desert trekker - you are occasionally assaulted by the direct sandstorm, where Liu Xiaoyi (the director of Fluid) primes his messaging so clear, it's impossible for one to miss; occasionally, you are lost in the metaphors and subliminal visuals, much like the mirage that appears ever so infrequently. And I like that - I like that this is a piece where you don't really need to know everything there is to the work, but you also know enough so that there is something meaningful you take away at the end of the performance. And this somewhat provides an answer to one of the production's question, "What is theatre?"

Do we have to have answers to every show we watch? Inherently not.

Fluid was very clever; it made me squeal at its intelligence as things unfold - I love the clean aesthetics, which came forth in the multimedia, the set, the movement sequence. I also love how the surtitles played a part in telling the story, such as the occasional extraneous text to emphasize and prime its messaging loud and clear. Liu Xiaoyi has definitely assembled a team that creates wonders - Darren Ng's sounds complemented the multimedia (by Ong Kian Peng and Ivan Lee), Gabriel Chan's lights were structured yet beautiful in the Flexible Space @ Lasalle. It was almost liking watching a visual arts exhibition, albeit the exhibition was moving in real-time and there were actors delivering lines and/or choreography in the midst of this backdrop.

To be honest, what made me squeal the most was my love for how the performance incorporates the element of a radio play - As the performance queries the definition of theatre, it is apt to start from the basics of a theatre performance - and the radio play, for me, is that basic manifestation of theatre. With just the use of a voice, a story is told. No frills, just a plain old good narrative. And the narrative also reveals the quirkiness of the director - The story talks about how the character Lao Wang had to move down to reach the top, and vice versa. And this quirkiness translates throughout the production - the choreography, the text, the story. It was brilliant. 

Going back to how I like the element of a radio play, I liked it because it is a good juxtaposition of the various permutations of theatrical presentation styles Xiaoyi has chosen - Starting from the very basic radio play, it then slides into naturalism, then moving into the abstract and surreal, each step explaining and questioning the definition of theatre - As an audience member, it was highly effective and interesting to watch. 

The piece was also interesting in a sense where I think while it tries to be all surreal and "avant garde", it was also quite accessible. The messaging was clear through the subtitles - and story told in the radio play was an allegory that, I think wasn't difficult to unravel its true subtext. Especially since Xiaoyi also made the actress in the play (Li Xie) amend the ending to a more "optimistic" one.  

All in all, I had no major complaints about the work - in fact, I thought this was a team I would watch again. Everything felt right and well-calibrated, and was a piece of exquisite art by itself. If I have any thing to comment about, it would be how I felt the work was a little too "precious" at times, such as the ending where we had to wait for that moment which the director had worked in - I just felt it was too much and too manipulative. It would have been better if the ending was shortened, and done in a way where it didn't make me feel like I had to be waiting for that moment (which in all honestly, was rather cliched and overdone). Such moments did re-occur in the show, such as the dancing with the plastic bags, etc but I guess it's a personal preference which I shouldn't impose on the artistic team. Otherwise, this is definitely a work that I think bridges the surreal expression and concept of assessibility - and as such, it is a work that is very much worth a visit.

Take a journey through this desert,and you might just find something interesting.
 For more details, please visit http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/fluid0714

Hatch Theatrics & Theatre Gumbo present Ring-a Ring-o' Rosie!

Welcome to “Peaceful Hospital” – a strange hospital with the best doctors and nurses in town. Actually they are vampires who are devoted to healing humans. Together with Gobriel, a low-ranking angel who moonlights as a pharmaceutical sales rep, they are committed to assist humans in finding happiness. The plot thickens as two patients are secretly brought to the hospital. This marks the beginning of a plan to realise the vampires’ long awaited dream.

Through its comical fantastic storyline, “Ring-a Ring-o’ Rosie” will set you thinking – “What does it mean to be human?” and “What is happiness?”

This multi-lingual theatrical production is a collaboration between Theatre Group GUMBO (Japan) and Hatch Theatrics (Singapore).

From Japan: Kayo Tamura, Ryo Nishihara, Yuko Nishimura,Hidefumi Oshiro & Nono Miyasaka.
From Singapore: Faizal Abdullah, Ghazali Muzakir & Gloria Tan
with live music accompaniment by
Kaori Satake (piano), Yuko Nishimura (percussion) & Misha’al Syed Nasar (Guitar)

Find out more about GUMBO at eonet.ne.jp/~gumbo/
Find out more about HATCH at facebook.com/Hatch.theatrics.info

Postscript - The number in the poster is wrong. To book tickets, please call 6337 7800!

July 6, 2014

National Theatre Live @ the Esplanade Theatre Studio

I attended 2 shows on 28 June but didn't manage to post an entry till now, but it's not too late, since the programme will run till the end of August.

The first was Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Creature, Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein, and directed by Danny Boyle.

I haven't read Mary Shelley's novel so I can't comment on whether the play is faithful to the source material. But this tale has been adapted many times on the big screen ( albeit cheesy versions ), though given a more respectful nod in this year's Showtime TV series, Penny Dreadful, of which I am a huge fan.

In case you're unaware, Boyle also directed Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. His style has always struck me as rather frenetic, sometimes vertigo-inducing, and after 20 years, I still haven't gotten used to it.
This production echoes the Olympics fanfare in certain ways, particularly the interlude involving a steaming locomotive ( was it a recycled prop, I wonder? ). There's also the usual dramatic flair, this time in the form of intermittent bursts of blinding light from the countless bulbs suspended from the ceiling ( so many, in fact, that I marveled at the absence of a blackout or short circuit ).
Where Boyle's work is concerned, the theatrics tend to bother me to a certain extent. Things don't always seem natural, be it the flow or the acting. The supporting cast suffers the consequences, but thankfully, the 2 leads rise above it.
The greatest advantage, however, is that the production moves at a brisk pace and is packed with visual treats, including a pastoral country home, a creepy lake and a secluded hut on a storm-ravaged island.

Now, on to the lead performances. Miller has been a favourite of mine for quite some time, after a villainous turn on Dexter season 5, followed by the Sherlock Holmes role in Elementary ( 2 Sherlocks in one play, how cool is that! ). He also happens to be Angelina Jolie's ex-husband ( interesting tidbit worth sharing :)).
If I'd had time, I would've loved to see him play the Creature, but I don't, so I can't. But if any of our readers do and would like to post comments or reviews, please do so.

Miller does a superb job as Frankenstein - a mixture of superior intelligence and something much darker, leading him to play God and actually succeed.
Though his appearances are significantly fewer compared to his co-star's, he makes full use of every second he has on stage, pouring his blood, sweat and guts into every line and every gesture. His character isn't easy to identify with - when you really ponder it, there're a lot of bad English words which suit Frankenstein very well - but Miller conveys his passion, pain and desperation with gut-wrenching conviction.
I also find his voice absolutely hypnotic, which is quite a feat considering who he's acting with. Miller's husky tone and flawless enunciation have always been a draw for me, and hearing him speak such beautifully written dialogue is pure heaven.
In addition, he looks very dashing in Victorian era costume - those long coats, billowy shirts and leather boots. :)

Last but not least, the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch. I've also followed his career closely ( my first memory is of his short but pivotal turn in Atonement ), and greatly admire his commitment to theatre work despite finding huge success in Hollywood.
His portrayal of the Creature is ASTOUNDING. Just hang on to your hats during the first 15 minutes, which have zero dialogue but are undoubtedly the highlight of the show. Without giving too much away, I will just describe this scene as an incredible display of physical strength, quite possibly the most soul-baring stage moment I have ever witnessed. Speaking from a doctor's perspective, the effort it took to pull this off was massive, and I hope audiences can appreciate it fully.
Once the dialogue kicks in and the Creature evolves, he becomes more recognizably human, but the physical demands continue. Cumberbatch persists with the limp, grimaces and dystonic movements. In one scene, he even scrambles up a 20-foot high scaffolding. Barefoot.
As expected, the script is most generous with this character, placing him in numerous scenarios, each with a different outcome. While Frankenstein's original experiment produced a life form, the REAL experiment begins after the doctor abandons his creation. As the latter fends for himself and meets an assortment of people during his travels, imitating and learning, it appears he may adjust to normal life, but an unfortunate encounter results in tragedy, and from then on, there is no turning back.

I could go on at length about many other themes - both obvious and subtle - in this Gothic drama, but shall leave you to discover them for yourself. Rest assured that it is not to be missed, so buy your tickets before they sell out!

Next is Coriolanus, one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays, and really tough to digest. I'd previously seen a movie adaptation starring Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler - given a modern touch and very exciting - but a stage production is extremely different.
Furthermore, the venue was the Donmar Warehouse - a reaaaaally tiny space which only allows chairs for props. Therefore, it was entirely up to the cast, director and crew to ignite the audience's imagination.

And boy, did they succeed! Aside from a few less compelling scenes involving the Roman citizens and the senate, most were powerfully executed. One thing I noticed was how everyone shouted throughout the entire show - instructions from the director, subconscious herd mentality, or a response to the audience? Whatever the reason, it definitely helped keep me awake. :)

The plot itself is relatively simple by Shakespearean standards, so the play is packed with lengthy expositions - every actor's dream, I'm sure. There're no distractions in the form of elaborate sets or fancy choreography. Even the costumes are minimalist in design ( dark shades with few embellishments, except for the oxblood-coloured breastplates worn by the army generals ).

Tom Hiddleston is, of course, the star of the show and the main reason I bothered to see this. But another actor deserves mention.

Hadley Fraser plays Aufidius, general of the Volscian army and described as Coriolanus' "blood enemy". I'm not too sure how this character is physically described by Shakespeare, but Fraser is tiny compared to Hiddleston, yet managed to almost outshine him in every scene they shared. The one that stood out most was when the exiled Coriolanus offered himself to Aufidius, but the latter chose to spare his life. Emotionally charged and beautifully delivered, it had everyone on the edge of their seats!
The climax involved an unexpected gesture which I won't reveal here. It wasn't in the movie, and I don't think it's supposed to be in the play, but it added a huge element of surprise, and I love it!
Fraser, by the way, is light years away from another role he's famous for - Raoul in Phantom of the Opera ( the 25th anniversary special at the Royal Albert Hall ). I realize it's an actor's job to be versatile, but seeing him transform from a gentle, lovelorn French count to a ruthless, ferocious general took my breath away!

As for Tom Hiddleston, he was absolute perfection as Coriolanus. Like many others, I first came to know his name after watching him play Loki in Thor. It's easy to see why director Kenneth Branagh picked him for the role. Hiddleston may look average-sized standing next to Chris Hemsworth, but towered over everyone on stage ( he's 1.88m tall ). He exuded an intensity I have never noticed on film, and during another standout scene between Coriolanus and his mother, Volumnia, watch closely as the camera zooms in on Hiddleston's face and the waterworks begin.
It doesn't sound like much here so you should experience it yourself. I know everything is rehearsed and expertly calibrated, but he somehow managed to make it look authentic and spontaneous. One word: WOW.

The fact that he's gorgeous also helps! None of that garish Loki makeup here. Hiddleston has curly, dark blond hair, an athletic physique, amazing facial bone structure, and piercing blue-green eyes that can penetrate steel ( at least I think so :)).
He's also a Cambridge University graduate. Now I need a hanky for my drool. ;)

To end off, don't miss this excellent event! Tickets are available from SISTIC. Enjoy!