Othello and all that jazz strikes a chord
I must confess that I am not one of Shakespeare’s biggest fans and was not erntirely sure what to expect from the Pantaloons, a company with a proclivity for transforming the works of the Bard into 'modern' productions.
This Othello was certainly different to any other Shakespeare play that I had previously encountered. As one of Shakespeare’s most modern plays, Othello is intensely focused on a small number of central characters and follows the twists and turns of their complex psychological journeys over a short period of time.
Iago (Edward Ferrow) is the scheming trickster who sows the seeds of mistrust in Othello’s (Wesley Charles) mind. Cassio (Christopher Smart) is the unsuspecting target of Iago’s lies and thealleged lover of Desdemona. The ensuing pressure-cooker of lies, mistrust and simmering tensions ultimately leads to the untimely demise of Othello’s beloved Desdemona (Kelly Griffiths) as well as several other characters. Although the play is essentially a tragedy, there are moments of laugh out loud comedy combined with audience interaction led by the talented Alex Rivers (Emilia/Montano/Bianca).
With live music, intense drama and a strong cast, this jazz-age adaptation is intense and playful in equal measure.
The Pantaloons have brought their attention-grabbing, interactive and modern performance style to one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays. A great evening regardless of your fondness for Shakespeare.
This production directed by the founder of the Pantaloons, Stephen Purcell, is currently touring the country until the end of November. Tour dates can be found on the website: https://thepantaloons.co.uk/othello/.