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HomeTheatreREVIEW: Othello on the Watermill Theatre

REVIEW: Othello on the Watermill Theatre


Since William Shakespeare’s Othello was first carried out in 1604 it has constructed up a status from the theatrical greats who’ve performed the leads over time. Paul Hart’s manufacturing boldly reimagines the story by including trendy music to attract out the feelings and themes, casts the scheming Iago as a girl and units the entire play in a contemporary navy base in Cyprus. It creates a vibrant exploration of its themes of home violence and the clawing want for energy and management. Every of the lead characters must painting each the exterior presentation of their place but additionally their interior selves so the play is much less about race and extra about fundamental human nature and want.    

Sophie Stone, a founding father of the deaf and listening to ensemble theatre firm, dominates the stage because the scheming antagonist of the piece, Iago adapting her type to every encounter to create most affect over the manipulable persona she meets. From her loutish ensnaring of Rodrigo (Ediz Mahmut) to her seductive controlling of Emilia (Chioma Uma) and deceptive steerage of Cassio (Yazdan Qafouri) she slowly and successfully attracts the web round Othello with an obsequiousness feigned loyalty. As she says “I hate the moor” however solely we are able to see this as her plotting evolves. We obsequiousness don’t want to listen to Billie Ellish’s “Dangerous Man” to know that her villainy is on the coronary heart of this story.


Othello, performed by Kalungi Ssebandeke isn’t any match for her plotting and is at his greatest within the highly effective scenes that shut every act as his jealousy and murderous intent bubble to the floor with depth and nice physicality. Reverse him, Desdemona (Molly Chesworth) appears subdued and barely aloof, and we by no means actually really feel her beguiled ardour for him however see a quite timid and nervous girl. Solely in her ultimate overwhelming scene as she lets her hair down whereas ready for his arrival does she lastly reveal her harmless love for him making the surprising smothering of her in her mattress all of the extra highly effective.

There may be wonderful help from Augustina Seymour as Desdemona’s emotional mom Brabanzia and Benedict Salter because the authority figures of The Duke of Venice and Lodovico. Each communicate the traces with a transparent highly effective voice that establishes a central theme of the battle between private lives {and professional} obligation. The readability is in distinction to some others who rush their traces or communicate with out variation of tempo or stage.

The Co-Administrators Paul Hart and Anjali Mehra have completed a superb job in updating the story with Karia Marie Candy’s adaption integrating the Watermill’s stock-in-trade technic of actor-musicians elegantly, maintaining the motion flowing easily and utilizing the varied ranges and entrances effectively within the storytelling. The musicians are typically saved to the wings (though sometimes distract as they take up their positions forward of the scenes) however the selection of songs and the best way they’re fitted into the narrative may be very profitable particularly within the songs “Dream somewhat dream”, “Jealous” and “Killing me softly” giving the manufacturing its trendy up to date really feel and reinventing the narrative. There have been hints of BSL signing in among the choreography and this might need been developed extra as a pure addition to the updating of the present.


The set design by Ceci Calf nearly resonates with the TV sport present The Dice as the important thing scenes unfold inside and cleverly use sliding corrugated iron panels and black nets in addition to spinning slowly to set the inside scenes. Though it takes up a big portion of the intimate Watermill stage and sometimes cramps the forestage house it’s a very efficient gadget and with wonderful lighting by Ali Hunter units the placement and temper for every scene effectively. The costumes have been easy, evocative of the navy type of latest conflicts and primarily in black and white tones with a touch of sparkles and color throughout “Mr Brightside”.

In sharp distinction to the RSC’s latest reimaging of All’s Nicely That Ends Nicely, the Watermill has splendidly reinvented this Shakespearean tragedy breaking with pre-perceptions and conventions to offer the narrative a contemporary really feel, focusing not on the human attribute of affection and the will for energy that drive behaviours. Iago’s villainous entrapment and manipulation of all she meets and Othello’s destruction from admired commander to damaged man trace on the undermining of authority by media pretend information and the destruction of society that outcomes. It offers a superb updating of Shakespeare’s four-hundred-year-old phrases and an participating retelling of this intimate and emotional narrative.

Overview by Nick Wayne 

Ranking: ★★★★

Seat: Stalls, Row E | Worth of Ticket: £35 

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