Reviewed – 28th June 2019
“a creative, fresh and inspiring approach to Shakespeare’s text”
‘Othello Remixed’ takes the epic tragedy – a story of jealousy and manipulation – and puts it in the centre of young urban culture. Othello is not a warrior, but a boxer, and in the words of its director, the script has “as many ‘fams’ as we do ‘thees’ and ‘thous’”. Darren Raymond, Artistic Director of Intermission Theatre Company and writer (after Shakespeare) and director of the piece, goes on to draw parallels between the rhythms of new language being created by young people and Elizabethan slang. And this parallel is clear in performance. Words from two different eras run together seamlessly. The themes are made shockingly contemporary, and I have never seen an audience laugh so much in a production of Othello.
The cast is made up of graduates from Intermission Theatre’s Youth Theatre who have gone on to professional careers in the industry. Highlights include Kwame Reed as Othello, Iain Gordon as Rico and Micah Loubon as Cassio. Hoda Bentaher delivers a standout performance as Desdemona, supported by Nakeba Buchanan as Emilia in another brilliant performance. Baba Oyejide plays the demanding role of Iago. He takes some time to settle into it but gets stronger over the course of the play excelling as he becomes increasingly more manipulative whilst repeatedly talking about honesty.
There is a little too much movement and comedy in the second act. Having created comedy so successfully in the earlier half of the play, stillness is needed to impress the gravity of the more serious moments. The piece isn’t as hard hitting as it’s Shakespearean counterpart and the edits to the ending take away from the usual impact the final scenes have.
Designed by Catherine Morgan, the set is a detailed study of a boxing studio, the ring in the centre, red and blue, the walls hung with punch bags, gloves and towels. It looks immediately dynamic and bold.
This is a creative, fresh and inspiring approach to Shakespeare’s text that places it slap bang in the modern world, but loses some of the original’s tragic weight.
Reviewed by Amelia Brown
Photography by Richard Jinman
Omnibus Theatre until 14th July
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