Sunday, May 12, 2013

An Othello review for short attention spans

We went to see Othello at the National Theatre.

With modern dress productions I always feel that for everything you gain (this is set in a Bastion-style military encampment on Cyprus) you sacrifice just as much in lost appreciation of just how deeply sunk in his times Shakespeare was (the play starts with Iago complaining about missing a preferment, which simply wouldn't come again in his lifetime.)

Brought up on a diet of "wot me guv?" wide boys, modern audiences sneakily prefer Iago to Othello whose nobility we're expected to take his own word for. The audience yesterday snickered nervously at Rory Kinnear's asides. But by the time the bed was piled with bodies, some of whom had expired at great length, one even confirming the fact with the words "I die", you could have heard a pin drop in the full house.


  1. I studied 'Othello' for A-Levels and my opinion of the play has been forever marred by my English teacher who declared she couldn't take the play seriously as a tragedy because Othello was such a gullible fool.

  2. "Rude am I in speech, and little blessed with the soft phrase of peace".

    Funny what stays with you from A levels, years ago.

    David, early next year Simon Russell Beale plays King Lear at the NT.