Othello (2014): Orangutan Productions, Riverside Studios
CAST INCLUDED: Stefan Adegbola (Othello); Peter Lloyd (Iago); Fergal Phillips (Cassio); Gillian Saker (Desdemona); Gemma Stroyan (Emilia).
This production ran from 16 January - 8 February 2014. Production information taken from Theatre Record; may be incomplete.
"Transpose Othello to a film noir setting and it fits like a glove. So the new theatre company Orangutan Productions asserts, holding that Shakespeare's thriller foreshadowed the screen genre's hardboiled antiheroes and atmosphere of menace and distrust. The director Rebekah Fortune is on to something (though trailing in the wake of Sam Mendes's subtly noir-influenced 1990s National Theatre staging). Her opening scenes are set in a cabaret bar where a chanteuse in a fascinator - her face veiled in black netting - is crooning and warning against jealousy. Peter Lloyd's Iago lounges at a corner table, looking lean and shifty in a fedora. An edge of class anger is, initially, underlined by his Northern accent as he recounts how Othello, his army commander, hasn't deigned to promote him. Summoned to a War Cabinet emergency meeting, Stefan Adegbola's Othello - in a swish, came hair coat - is diplomatic, dignified and mellifulously well-spoken, with a hint of arrogance. Not long out of drama school, Adegbola has distinct promise. However, having notably employed the 'Moor of Venice' subtitle, Fortune barely registers the dialogue's racist exchanges....Gillian Saker's Desdemona has an exquisite moment of stillness, softly singing the Willow Song before Adegbola's hair-raising storm of terminal violence." ~ Kate Bassett, The Times, 21 January 2014, in Theatre Record 2014, Issue 1-2