As much as Othello is in truth centered around Iago, it was a great joy to watch Adrian Lester in the title part, dwindling down the narrow path between jealous rage and madness. His Othello is certainly a landmark.
Rory Kinnear’s Iago was a clinical, psychopathic intellectual who observes in a detached way what becomes of his various strategies – to him revenge is definitely a dish best served cold and in the end he coldly watches how murder and suicide take place.
The play here is set in a rather nameless present, in an anonymous war camp and Desdemona portrayed as a bit of a social butterfly, an it-girl that just happened to catch the general’s attention who – to his own surprise – falls in love with her after only a short period of knowing her. In a weird way this concept fits the play like a glove and makes it even more believable – the girl, desperately in love with Othello, is so isolated in an all male or rather all military world that she no longer has the words to talk to her husband. Othello on the other hand is so damaged from various fights in numerous wars that he no longer has the ability to listen. I never got the feeling it’s a scene of domestic violence – I had the distinct feeling that it stemmed from the damages any war does to everybody,
It’s a brilliant show with an outstanding cast and a joy to watch. The “concrete” blocks that served as set made the feeling of claustrophobia and frustration even more intense. The rage Othello felt when he was ramming his fist through the drywall in the toilet barracks was as much scary as it was understandable and his feeling of being bodily ill only too understandable.
stagedoor: we waited quite a bit as the main cast had some sort of interview going on, but Adrian Lester actually recognised Gabe and me from our last visit which flattered us (well me) immensely – he is also incredibly charming and friendly. Yes, we were both VERY happy that we had waited in the rain to see him … 😉