01 January 2008

Othello by William Shakespeare

Roderigo - Edward Bennett
Othello - Chiwetel Ejiofor
Emillia - Michelle Fairley
Duke of Venice/ Lodovico - Michael Hadley
Cassio - Tom Hiddleston
Montano - Michael Jenn
Bianca - Martina Laird
Brabantio and Gratiano - James Laurenson
Iago - Ewan McGregor
1st Senator, 2nd Cyprus Gentleman - David Mara
Desdemona - Kelly Reilly
1st Officer, Messenger, 1st Cyprus Gentleman - Alastair Sims

Directed by Michael Grandage
Designed by Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer: Paule Constable
Composer and Sound Designer: Adam Cork

Seen during it's run at the Donmar - D10

Despite my efforts to avoid reviews, several people thought it was alright to tell me that Chiwe was the star and whilst I would have assumed that since he had the title role, I had to grit my teeth and just put it down to seeing it so late after Press Night. People who don't go to the theatre can't resist pretending that they have some understanding and in doing so, reveal that they have none.

So, with my expectations of Chiwe high and last experience with Ewan low I entered the evening with mixed feelings. I don't know if it was a New Year's Day fluke but every single member of the cast was absolutely staggering. I could go through each individual and detail of the manner in which they excelled. Othello is, after all a reversed rendition of Much Ado but with knives. Few of the roles are incidental and there are two very powerful females. Kelly still does the OTT head shaking thing which is such a shame when she is such a deliciously creamy confection but hopefully she will read tonight's notes with a red face and conviction. Young Mr Hiddleston was something of a revelation with a wonderful texture to his voice.........and I detect something of the Claire Higgins in Michelle Fairley. Some of these people are fresh in their career and yet they bring a great punch to this production.

Further details and pictures here.

The speediest 195 minutes I've had in a long time.