Othello (2009): Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
CAST INCLUDED: Jude Akuwudike (Othello); Philip Cairns (Cassio); Andy Clark (Iago); Sarah Haworth (Desdemona); Pauline Knowles (Emilia).
This production ran from 23 October - 14 November 2009. Production information from Theatre Record; may be incomplete.
"Tradition suggests that there should always be a certain dramatic exhilaration in the bringing to light of tragedy and violence; a sense of cleansing, and of possible new beginnings. The difficulty is that many modern directors and actors find it impossible to follow that conventional curve through violence and despair to resolution and hope; and the result can be a gruelling evening of unredeemed misery....In the week of the controversy over the BNP's [British National Party] first appearance on [the BBC's] Question Time [programme], it's easy to see what [Guy] Hollands is trying to do with this terrible catastrophe of racial hatred, in which the mighty black general Othello, and his young bride, Desdemona, are utterly destroyed by the vicious spite of his trusted adjutant, Iago....And if Jude Aukwudike's Othello seems a shade hesitant and under-rehearsed, he still captures the emotional heart of the role." ~ Joyce McMillan, Scotsman, 29 October 2009, in Theatre Record 2009, Issue 22
"A tall grey wall fills the proscenium, with a rectangular relief pattern embossed over it. It moves upstage and downstage, it splits open down the middle to reveal glimpses of what lies behind. But what does Philip Witcomb's set signify in Guy Hollands' production?...Come to that, what do the random selection of vaguely modern military fatigues, with knives instead of guns in their chest holsters add up to?...As for Jude Akuwudike as Othello, he will do better when he feels more secure with his lines." ~ Robert Dawson Scott, The Times, 30 October 2009, in Theatre Record 2009, Issue 22
"At the very outset, the usually excellent Andy Clark (playing Iago) races through his lines with barely a care for their rhythm. Although the actor otherwise plays the role with a fascinating, unrepentent, crew-cut muscularity, one fears for Shakespeare's language. Those fears are confirmed by Jude Akuwudike's playing of Othello. Despite the wonderfully deep timbre of the actor's voice and the appropriately self-regarding aura he lends the character, he seems (four nights into the run) to be under-rehearsed: so many lines are tripped over or mangled that one begins to become distracted. Worse is to come. Sarah Haworth is miscast and misconceived as Desdemona. Director Hollands reinvents the character - catastrophically - as a tomboy student with a penchant for military fatigues." ~ Mark Brown, Sunday Herald, 2 November 2009, in Theatre Record 2009, Issue 22