SHAKESPEARE’S OTHELLO: William Shakespeare / Frantic Assembly
Frantic Assembly on tour.
Runs: 1h 55m, no interval.
Birmingham Rep to 15 11 14
Tel: 0121 236 4455
Tour till 07 February 2015
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 13 11 14
A tough swaggering production – engaging, exciting.
Scott Graham’s production packs a powerful punch as it swaggers through this cut-down version of OTHELLO. The adaptation (originally by Graham and Steven Hoggett) strips the play down to only events that directly impact on the main dramatic action. With an eye on being exciting for younger audiences, we have a story of love, jealousy, lies and murder.
In Frantic Assembly’s modern setting this powerful tale is set on the streets (or rather just off them) of any urban environment. The production incorporates music, choreography and dialogue. Shakespeare’s verse is given a sharp edge in the company’s delivery; the effect is to deliver a script in a heightened, sinewy style that makes immediate contact with the audience’s emotion.
Steven Miller makes an excellent Iago. His tall, slim figure offers no overt wickedness; he’s a normal bloke – but inside lives a terrible wickedness. He handles the language well, offering us glimpses of the poetry; against this Mark Ebulue’s delivery is more matter-of-fact, offering us a strong contrast which lends him extra weight while setting him apart from his more quick-witted peers. We understand his amazement that Desdemona chose him and understand how he can fall victim to Iago’s plot.
Kirsty Oswald creates a Desdemona caught up in the joys of love; a young woman who becomes entangled in a cruel plot through no fault of her own.
Billed as Shakespeare’s OTHELLO, Shakespeare’s it isn’t. On the other hand Shakespeare’s it is and an exciting and thrilling theatrical introduction for large numbers of new audiences. Excellent.
Brabantio / Lodovico: Barry Aird
Emilia: Leila Crerar
Othello: Mark Ebulue
Cassio: Ryan Fletcher
Roderigo: Richard James-Neale
Montano: Dritan Kastrati
Bianca: Nicola Kavanagh
Iago: Steven Miller
Desdemona: Kirsty Oswald
Direction: Scott Graham
Design: Laura Hopkins
Lighting Design: Natasha Chivers
Sound Design: Gareth Fry
Casting Director: Sarah Hughes
Originally adapted, directed and choreographed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett