by William Shakespeare.
The CLF Art Café The Bussey Building 133 Rye Lane Peckham SE15 4ST To 23 February 2013.
Runs: 2hr 45min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 8700 887 (£1.50 booking fee).
www.ticketsource.co.uk/othellopeckham (no booking fee).
Review: Carole Woddis 13 February.
Intense, fresh and up-to-the-minute.
The Royal Court’s legacy lives on in South East London following their `Peckham Local’ season at this old arms and cricket-bat factory last year. Young professional actors and director Anthony Green, inspired by the season, have come together to produce a modern dress, vivid assault on the great tragedy of jealousy and manipulation.
Clearly allied to recent western excursions in the Middle East, personnel badges, desert combats and everyday gear prevail within an atmosphere of intense military and civilian male bonding
In an intimate traverse staging, the energy is urgent, fresh and intimidating, led by Jack Johns’ impressive Iago, a lean, jack-in-the-box lieutenant, friend to everybody and ever-ready with kind counsel except to his wife, Izabella Urbanowicz’s watchful Emilia.
Substituting brother for father in the character of Brabantio is only one of several clever directorial strokes by Green and the company. It brings into sharp focus Desdemona’s `betrayal’ with Othello as a contemporary parallel with cases of honour killing, where a daughter has been abducted or worse because of the perceived stain against the honour of the family. Nick Howard-Brown’s Brabantio is all brotherly outrage – a prelude to Othello’s larger, marital possessiveness.
Zachary Momoh’s Othello is finely drawn. A natural leader, athletically built but isolated within this all-White community, he presents a powerful, gullible but ultimately sympathetic figure. Confused and perplexed in the extreme, his anger and suspicion, triggered by the poison of Iago’s words, resonate all too acutely with latter-day news reports of violence against young women.
Although the publicity talks of situating the play within the context of private security companies in embattled war zones, Green’s otherwise exemplary production is stronger on the personal than public dynamics.
Led by John’s devious, smiling Iago, the director makes the inevitable outcome one of appalling impotence for the spectator as Othello, Desdemona and the rest fall victim to his malign revenge.
Obviously working within slender resources, Green and the Peckham Othello company nonetheless show how enthusiasm, talent and commitment can produce Shakespeare for our time. Peckham’s answer to Bristol’s much respected, plain-speaking Tobacco Factory, let’s hope this is just the start.
Othello: Zackary Momoh.
Iago: Jack Johns.
Desdemona: Harriet Green.
Emilia: Izabella Urbanowicz.
Cassio: Callum McGowan.
Roderigo: Max Calandrew.
Bianca: Tanya Mattouk.
Brabantio/Gratiano: Nick Howard-Brown.
Montano: Kes Gill-Martin.
Lodovico: Alex Woolf.
Duke of Venice: Nathan Lee.
Director: Anthony Green.
Designer/Costume: Catherine Morgan.
Lighting: Richard Williamson.
Fight director: Marcello Marascalchi.
This production of Othello was presented by The Othello Peckham Theatre Company and opened in at The CLF Art Café, Peckham, London on 25 January 2013.