Othello @ The National Theatre – Review853
This is a monumental production of Othello. The harrowing descent of Othello (Adrian Lester), triggered by the evil machinations of Iago (Rory Kinnear), into homicidal madness has been brought up to date. The four poster bed and chiffon curtains of old have been replaced by the stark environs of a 21st century front-line military encampment. The set opens up a series of cuboid rooms: a soldiers’ mess, a general’s office, a washroom, the bedroom. Within these claustrophobic spaces reside Shakespeare’s elegant prose and the main protagonists: Othello, Iago and their wives Desdemona (Olivia Vinall) and Emilia (Lyndsey Marshal).
The lengthy script remains intact, which allows the characters’ inter-relationships gradually to metamorphose and Iago slowly to weave his evil web of malevolent lies and deceit. Rory Kinnear plays the amoral, sociopathic ensign to perfection, a creature without empathy for others. He sows the seed of doubt in Othello as to his bride’s chastity and whatever goodness may have existed in Othello – and he is, of course, a mercenary and a natural killer at heart – is thoroughly corrupted.
The tragedy gathers momentum. Adrian Lester paces the role of Othello, allowing Iago centre stage in the first three acts before taking the spotlight in a denouement of breathtaking horror. Desdemona, already an outsider to the harsh reality of military life, realises too late that she has become a stranger to her husband and, indeed, is now the target of his murderous rage.
Top drawer in every regard, Prestat awards Othello a rating of 5 Intensely Dark Chocolate Bars and 6 London Gin Truffles.
For the perfect night at the Theatre, I always take a selection of our delicious chocolate wafer thins the ideal size for a discrete nibble.