Bard in the Botanics: otHELLo

A broken Othello

Here’s my review for the Daily Record. This accomplished production comes too late for all the students who had to get inside the murky mind of Iago & co to sit their Higher English.

Othello  Bard in the Botanics  Four stars  28.6.13

That the programme picks out the HELL in Othello in bold letters gives a fair indication of what’s on the slate for the Moorish general and those in his slipstream.

It all starts so well for the newly married and promoted Othello in this pared to the bone production of Shakespeare’s timeless tale, and it is this good fortune that fuels Iago’s obsessive hatred for his comrade in the Venetian army.

As the manipulative Iago, Kirk Bage plays it sinister and subtle, with just a narrowing of the eyes suggesting the diabolical jealousy, racism and revenge that will turn this play into a monumental tragedy.

Director Gordon Barr sticks to the emotional core of the play as Othello is forced to choose between good (the love he shares with Desdemona), and the evil embodied in Iago.

There’s something of the slacker about Othello (Matthew Wade) in the early scenes, and the chemistry between him and Nicole Cooper’s Desdemona is palpable.

First performed in 1604, the play also deals with domestic violence, and the shock at Desdemona’s public humiliation brings the recent Saatchi incident into sharp relief. It falls to Emelia, emotively played by Anne Dick, to stand up for her mistress Desdemona and woman kind.

The outdoor setting adds to the emotional heft of the play, particularly during the bedchamber scene when the changing light reinforces the poignancy of Desdemona’s demise.






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