05 January 2023
4.5 out of 5.0 stars
Ah, another Shakespeare classic all about how people’s problems could easily be solved if they’d just have a proper conversation with each other.
Othello at the National Theatre, is an intense experience. With a set consisting of large stairs surrounding a bare stage, the focus is entirely on the action. The powerful tragedy focuses on jealousy, betrayal, and racism.
The titular character is a “Moorish” general in the Venetian army. He is happily married to Desdemona, the love of his life. But when his ensign Iago starts manipulating him into believing she is unfaithful to him, tragedy spins its web to affect a plethora of people.
With the stark background and intense acting, it was a stunning performance. There was once moment that I did not quite understand, when Othello is emotionally extremely impacted by Iago’s lies and suddenly the stage is surrounded by military personnel in riot gear, wearing what looked like black-face masks? It seemed a bit out of place in the production and I didn’t feel it was necessary nor helpful for the plot in any way. The riot gear people immediately disappear and never show up again, so I’m not sure this was a good design choice.
Other than that is was a fantastic performance, perfectly playing the high stakes tragedy with depth and fervour. What an experience!