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Othello

National theatre

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#111 Epicoene

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:30 AM

This is very good, albeit that it is a strong play and hard to get totally wrong. I must have seen it more than a dozen times and there are not many entirely novel directorial insights here, save for the characterisation of Emilia which is quite striking.

#112 Lynette

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:40 PM

Second time this afternoon and yes, it is very , very good. RK just amazing and AL matches him in the duo scenes. Hope this achievement is recognised in the end of year awards.

#113 Ajl

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 09:55 AM

Saw it yesterday afternoon too. Fantastic performances throughout really. Was a little unsure by Desdemona to begin with but was won over long before the end. Enjoyed AL's interpretation of Othello - good to see an intelligent man regress into ferocity. But RK was pretty much one of the most vulgar performances I have seen in a while. You kind of get the impression that he's winging the whole thing as he goes along rather than it all being preconceived. Staging was lovely. The reveal of the army camp was a nice transition, and the unfolding of each room worked really well on the Olivier stage. Also special mention to lighting design. It was literally gorgeous. From the scenes set in the rooms which were largely lit from within the scenery to the gigantic flood lights' looming presence over proceedings. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Not sure my other half did (not a fan of Shakespeare) but he came out saying he can appreciate great performances.

#114 Lynette

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:16 PM

Iago is 'winging' it; he is the great opportunist, for example using the info he gleans from overhearing converations as he goes along. RK gives a brilliant performance of a classical text brought right up to the minute.

#115 peggs

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:58 PM

Yeah in his platform RK made it clear that, Iago is literally making it up as he goes along, there may be some 'revenge' idea at the start but it's just worked out as he goes along.

#116 Nicholas

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 04:59 PM

You know, I agree about his being one of the most vulgar performances I’ve seen but that’s why it worked for me – for me, his Iago was a cunning thug and that made him doubly intimidating.  I loved watching him but hated him, which makes for a really interesting Iago.

#117 richard

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:11 AM

This was the worst professional production of Othello I have ever seen over 50 years.    When guns appear and one loses straight away lines such as 'Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them' one knows one is in trouble.  Adrian Lester did not begin to reach the foothills of the mountain that is Othello.  Of all the greatest Shaklespeare roles this is the one most elusive. Lear is a cakewalk by comparison.  It defeated Gielgud and Scofield and, in many people's opinion, Olivier too.  Alan Brien had a famous review of the Olivier production that began 'Olivier gives the kind of bad performance that only a great actor is capable of.'  The best Othello I ever saw was Brewster Mason at Stratford many moons ago.  Anthony Hopkins on the BBC Shakespeare version was good too.   Both had the dignity, the gravitas, the Othello music, the sense of age.  For Adrian Lester to declaim 'I am declined into the vale of years' was just ludicrous.  One of the saddest things about political correctness is that great Shakespearean actors (one thinks of Michael Pennington, Alan Howard and John Shrapnel) have been denied the opportunity to play the Moor.  Rory Kinnear was very superficial in his portrayal of Iago.  Hytner was too much under the thumb of the military adviser.  To set the play in a kind of Camp Bastion and to have Act 5 Scene 1 descend into a gun fight was quite wrong.  Roderigo survives and is a vital reported witness in the denouement.  Of the other roles the less said the better.  This was the NT at its very worst - modish, inadequate, contrary to the spirit of the play and very pleased with itself.  Awful.

#118 Epicoene

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:31 AM

View Postrichard, on 03 September 2013 - 09:11 AM, said:

Awful.

Welcome back ! I have missed your trenchant comments. I happen to disagree here and agree on A Mad World.

Did you see the Donald Sinden "Othello" - I can hardly imagine what that must have been like.

#119 richard

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 10:16 AM

For some reason I couldn't log on for months , but eventually I cracked it this morning.   Yes, I saw the Donald Sinden Othello.

No lack of the Othello music there with Sinden  - 'Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump', etc...  But somehow he missed the final tragic grandeur.    T. S. Eliot's remarks on Othello's last great speech still ring true -  he says that what Othello  is essentially trying to do is to cheer himself up, a prime example of his view that the last thing to die in Shakespeare's tragic herpes is the desire to think well of themselves.

Titus Andronicus is the best thing at Stratford this season.  It is a greatly under-rated and 'pigeon-holed' play.  Thank goodness we are getting Richard II without Jonathan Slinger.  Doran should have had the top job at the RSC ten years ago.

Do you agree that (a) the Swan is one of the the most uncomfortable theatres imaginable and that (B) the new main house at the RSC is even worse?  The sightlines in some places in both are really terrible.  Come back Elizabeth Scott - all is forgiven.

#120 Epicoene

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 10:55 AM

View Postrichard, on 03 September 2013 - 10:16 AM, said:

Do you agree that (a) the Swan is one of the the most uncomfortable theatres imaginable and that (B) the new main house at the RSC is even worse?  The sightlines in some places in both are really terrible.  Come back Elizabeth Scott - all is forgiven.
I have disliked the Swan since it first opened - hardly any of the stalls seats actually face the centre of the stage so I always end up with a stiff neck - the few stalls seats that do face front seem to be house seats as the ample form of Peter Hall was plonked in them a couple of times when I was there. As you say sightlines from upstairs are terrible, I was in an expensive seat for Mad World but still partly blocked by a pillar. The light wood finish is also distracting. It all gives me the impression they designed it to look good from the stage (when empty).

I have not been to the RST based on the appalling Courtyard where I spent a fantastically uncomfortable few hours seeing the McKellen Lear from a bar stool, and luckily now they are back at the Barbican I won't have to.

I quite liked Titus Andronicus but thought it woefully undercast in the leading role (and overacted in the leading female role).  






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