Othello (1978): Birmingham Repertory Theatre
PRINCIPAL CAST: Jane Bertish (Bianca); Philip Madoc (Iago); Beth Morris (Desdemona); Val Pringle (Othello); Jennie Stoller (Emilia)
This production ran from 16 February - 4 March 1978.
According to an insert in one of the programmes in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre's archive, Val Pringle's understudy was white actor Paul Webster who normally played Brabantio and Lodovico (insert announced the illness of Val Pringle and his replacement). The Birmingham Post's review records Paul Webster's performance as this was a change that included the production's opening night: "It must have been a difficult first night for the company: Paul Webster stepped into the title role at four days' notice - after the indisposition of Val Pringle - and although he gave a courageous, creditable and amazingly word-perfect performance, the balance of Peter Farago's production was evidently upset. The heart of the play is the relationship between Othello and Iago: Mr. Webster was a quiet, in fact sometimes inaudible Moor - a low key figure without much in the way of grandeur or scale. Philip Madoc was also quiet: he gave a cool, throwaway account of Iago. It was a characterisation which required a Paul Robeson of an Othello....Robin Archer's set - an impressively solid Jacobean facade - is an economical revival from the Rep's earlier productions of The Devil is an Ass and Measure for Measure, but none the worse for that. The costumes, however, leave a great deal to be desired; they give the impression of having been assembled from a collection of old curtains and fabrics acquired in a jumble sale." ~ Anthony Everitt, "Othello at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre", Birmingham Post, 7 February 1978