October 30, 2016

You don’t have to squint too hard to discern unsettling contemporary relevance in the Red Bull Theater’s gripping new production of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus,” which opened on Sunday at the Barrow Street Theater. The director, Michael Sexton, all but pulls out a pen and starts highlighting from the get-go. With the cast members wearing contemporary clothes — conservative suits or slouchy casual wear, depending on their class — the time, clearly, is now; the place, America. This is hardly an unusual approach for Shakespearean productions in any season, but “Coriolanus,” a late tragedy, exposes the dangerous rifts in the newly republican, deeply divided and highly stratified Roman society that ultimately led it to the brink of violent collapse.