OTHELLO: THE REMIX
written and composed by GQ and JQ frvrloped with Rick Boynton.
Unicorn Theatre (Weston auditorium) 147 Tooley Street SE1 2HZ To 29 September 2013.
1.15pm 24, 25 Sept.
2pm 38, 29 Sept.
7pm 25-28 Sept.
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7645 0560.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 22 September.
Inventive fusion of Shakespearean tragedy and the music of modern youth.
The Q brothers, J & G’ve taken Shakespeare by the collar, remixed, re-tuned to make this new Othello. The General’s now a band-leader and things soon get explosive; Iago’s got a hump on and his anger grows intrusive.
The rig-out’s each in boiler suit, and sporting baseball cap, while what they say’s not so much blank verse as swiftly-spoken rap. Four people do it all on stage, with a fifth doing sounds above them, while wigs create the women, all except Desdemona.
She’s an unseen sound, a high song floating in the ether, till at last this turns to screams when Othello looms above her. Pillow in hand, he thrusts with force, as with sexual urge, to choke her.
That’s when her life stops being a song; it’s vivid and it’s tragic. Throughout the show the rough new style creates its own bright magic.
There’s energy and fun right through, but the story’s well respected; things are explained in their new context, which seems natural and effective.
On a bare raised stage energy comes from the actors’ skills, voices clear and movement sharp – dance thrills and the show is full of life in everything that’s said. Yet it goes far further than just being fun, or looking for youth cred.
Take the sudden crash Othello makes as he kills himself in angry grief. And the bleak lines at the end about human existence as cold and dark for everyone within this world’s system.
Aimed first at teenagers, 13+ the recommendation, it should catch their admiration – for groundlings just think of street youth, and ears attuned to rap tracks. It’s their world and it’s Shakespeare’s play brought together at the max.
But older Shakespeare regulars will respect, then grow enthusiastic. They might not think they’ll like it, but could find fantastic its urgency and energy and clarity of the feelings. It’s present tense stuff pulsating and with no time to be reflective. Which was like Othello found things as his world went all defective.
From Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater it’s a blast in any sense. Imaginative, well thought-out, with real intelligence.
Cassio/Emilia: Jackson Doran.
Roderigo/Loco Vito/Bianca: JQ.
Othello: Postell Pringle.
DJ: Clayton Stamper.
Directors: GQ, JQ.
Designer/Costume: Scott Davis.
Lighting: Jessie Klug.
Sound: James Savage.
Wigs/Make-up: Melissa Veal.
Assistant lighting: Greg Hoffmann.