Othello: Moor of Venice

Theatre, Drama
The premiere show from Orangutan productions which mixes Shakespearean tragedy with film noir. According to them, Shakespeare's violent tragedy about jealousy and vengeance fits the film noir bill with its atmosphere of paranoia, loss of innocence and strong sense of injustice.


Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening

A superb production. The noir setting is fine but rightly not central. We thought all the main actors were excellent - particularly Adegbola's Othello whose anguish was both credible and moving. We'd loved Rory Kinnear's Iago at the NT but Peter Lloyd's, though very different, is right up there - a snake, a spiv, a wide boy whose single minded nastiness perfectly illuminates both Othello's essential trusting innocence and Roderigo's pathetic weakness. A low budget affair , a small theatre, but a production of the highest quality. Sadly the theatre was not full - it should be.

I think perhaps I saw a different play to the person below. This was a very patchy Shakespeare. Many of the actors seemed to have very little idea what they were saying - Iago especially. The lack of even a basic understanding of antithesis for example, to bring the text to life is unforgivable in a professional production. The setting added nothing to the central themes of the play - it seemed little more than an excuse for costume and music. Many of the cast lacked vocal energy and presence, Adegbola and Phillips excepted, which meant that despite playing in a small space there was no sense of ease or engagement in the dialogue. Far from being fast-paced it was simply cut, often badly (Othello's single soliloquy butchered) and the hour-long first half felt a lot longer. Inexplicable staging - why was the first song not on one of the two stages? why were people squeezing past furniture to get on? and I don't remember slick scene changes I'm afraid - they were clunky, semi-lit changes between scenes - that's neither imaginative, nor slick. There's clearly some talent on that stage but it's been wasted here.

Having seen The Nationals excellent production of Othello I attended this Noir inspired production with trepidation. I need not have worried, Rebekah Fortunes skilful production is witty, fast paced and thrilling. The entire cast give strong performances with slick scenes changes and Shakespearean verse spoken perfectly with not a beat missed. Max Wilson is exceptional as the downtrodden and bullied Roderigo and his relationship with Iago is one of the plays strengths. Peter Lloyd shines as Iago portraying a northern NCO eaten up by jealousy in a world where being honest is a fault. His connection with the audience and the truthfulness of his feelings take the audience with him on his journey making us as complicit as him in the tragic end. Strong support is given by the rest of the company making this a stand out production with superb set, costumes and lighting. The Night I attended there was a large audience and I imagine this show will continue to pack out so book your tickets now, a fantastic evening out.