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Othello

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#71 Honoured Guest

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:45 PM

Or checking bags at the entry to the Olympic Park.

#72 Michael H

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 09:47 PM

There are about 2 to 5 tickets available now online for the next three nights.  If it wasn't for the committee meeting on Wednesday/Minack rehearsal on Thursday/actuarial exam retake on Monday, I would be there like a shot!
Me is directing again - Private Peaceful at the Charles Cryer Theatre, Carshalton, 23 to 26 April 2014.

#73 popcultureboy

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:50 AM

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Gonna be set in present ie now. Ooo so Afghanistan? Wondering.

It seems to be. The set, for the most part, is an army camp, and they all seem to be in desert storm style army fatigues. Last night was a LONG first preview, running just under 3 and a half hours (105 minutes before we get to the interval). But at no point did it feel like a slog. The performances are already very strong (Lester, Kinnear and most notably Lynsey Marshall are all excellent). There's still some work to be done (there needs to be so much more blood, for starters) and they're aiming to shave off at least 15 minutes, but as first previews go, this was pretty effing great.

#74 Lynette

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:44 PM

Blood? OMG where is the blood? Ok in the attack on Cassio? But please no dripping wavy hands. So it is that nebulous 20th century hot country army scene is it, no specifics? No Arab graffiti? Nothing to offend? What a  shame.

#75 peggs

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:55 PM

View PostLynette, on 17 April 2013 - 04:44 PM, said:

Blood? OMG where is the blood? Ok in the attack on Cassio? But please no dripping wavy hands. So it is that nebulous 20th century hot country army scene is it, no specifics? No Arab graffiti? Nothing to offend? What a  shame.
Oh no blood?! Latecomer will have to roll me into the footwell (we planned this for JC at the donmar and were somewhat stuffed by the staging!) ;)

#76 Latecomer

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:41 PM

We have seperate seats if I remember well, due to it being ridiculously popular....maybe Rory will save you?!

#77 mallardo

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:47 AM

The blood is in Cassio's drunken assault on Montano. Nothing much.  The play came in a 3.20 last night and before I go further, a big thank you to Michael H for his heads up yesterday.  I got a last minute ticket - and a good one - online, as did most of the people around me.  So there will be tickets!

As to the production, no, not Afghanistan but Cyprus as it must be.  No attempt to relate things to contemporary issues.  Just a lot of people in camo outfits - apart from the civvies back in Venice.  For me, the updating adds little.  The set is an army base and, as such, it is relentlessly drab. There's a rec room where the brawl takes place, a camp office, a latrine - Othello watches Iago's staged scene with Cassio from a toilet stall - and a dishearteningly plain barracks-modern bedroom which looks authentic but undercuts the tragedy of the final scene in a big way.

For me the whole concept undercuts the tragedy.  It's too low key and quotidian.  It works well in the first act.  When Othello is summoned to the palace (boardroom) to get his orders and then confronts Brabantio it plays brilliantly.  But once we get to the army base and the emotions start being ratcheted up one wants a setting to match the drama.

What it is is very entertaining - perhaps too much so.  Who knew there were so many laughs in Othello?  The audience was chuckling all the way through, even, fatally, in the final scene.  Chief comic is Iago.   Rory Kinnear is a funny guy and his droll asides, even when plotting villainy, are genuinely amusing. His scenes with the hapless Roderigo are a laugh riot.  But, as a consequence, one gets the evil as a heightened petulance.  Perhaps I've just seen Kinnear too much of late but his tics and quirks are getting to be familiar.  His Iago reminded me of his Hamlet - Hamlet with a mean streak. I enjoyed his performance - and in the context it probably works. But, for me there was a lot missing.

Then there's Adrian Lester - a wonderful actor with genuine charisma, ideally cast, one would think.  But, for me, a touch too sophisticated and worldly wise.  Othello is a monster of ego and self-satisfaction - he has had to be.  He loves Desdemona, he says, because she swooned to hear of his fabulous exploits, because she feeds that ego.  Thus, when he thinks  she has betrayed him, he can't cope with it.  She has undermined his self-image. It's why he's such an easy mark for Iago.

Here, Othello's love for Desdemona seems based on old familiar reasons - he's in lust with her.  He just can't wait to get her to bed.  Fair enough. But the big moment when we see that Iago's poison has worked - the turn - was utterly unconvincing.  It was too soon, too fast and too implausible for THIS Othello.

Unreserved praise however for Olivia Vinall's young (she looks like a teenager) and naive Desdemona and for Lyndsey Marshall's gritty Emilia.  The scene where the two ladies sit outside talking and singing the Willow Song together was the highlight of the evening for me.  Lesser roles - Tom Robertson's Roderigo,  Jonathan Bailey's Cassio - were wonderfully played.

But at the end the tragedy was unfelt.  I was not moved.  I hasten to add that this was clearly a minority view.  The packed house responded with roaring applause and a partial standing ovation.  I wish I could have joined them.
Excuse me if I seem jejune
I promise I'll find my marbles soon.

#78 popcultureboy

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 08:35 AM

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The blood is in Cassio's drunken assault on Montano. Nothing much

That's my point. There is NOT ENOUGH of it! We have Montano's face streaming blood after the assault, and then there's not another drop to be seen all night, which, given how the many deaths are staged, really grated.

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no, not Afghanistan but Cyprus as it must be. No attempt to relate things to contemporary issues. For me, the updating adds little.

Well, textually it's Cyprus, but there is no other sense of location given, really (mainly thanks to the "relentlessly drab" set). It adds nothing, I don't think, the updating. After what he did with Hamlet, that was especially disappointing for me.

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Who knew there were so many laughs in Othello? The audience was chuckling all the way through, even, fatally, in the final scene. Chief comic is Iago.

Well, there aren't that many laughs in it. WHY are they laughing? I don't get it. There's some moments where Kinnear deliberately plays for laughs (notably in the scene where he hatches his plot involving Cassio as he watches him with Desdemona), but so many other moments the audience were absolutely rolling up and I have absolutely no clue what at. Some laughter was happening during moments of silence. What the actual eff? The hapless giggling during some of the later scenes was enough to drive ME into a murderous rage.

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I was not moved

Neither was I, though I don't lay the blame for that at the feet of this production, but of the play. Othello is such a gigantic and easily manipulated idiot and Desdemona I always find to be drippy in the extreme, so I never really feel anything over their deaths. I was a little gutted by Emilia's death, but mostly because Lynsey Marshall, having essentially done nothing for the entire play, absolutely stole the show in the final 30 minutes.

#79 Abby

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 09:33 AM

Not seen this yet, but interested that Lynsey Marshall is playing Emilia not Desdemona, as I'd assumed. I've always thought Emilia had far better lines but it must be a smaller part and isn't Desdemona generally seen as the leading female role of the play? I love Lynsey Marshall - I'd be fascinated to know whether she was originally offered Desdemona and turned it down on the basis that the character is too much of a drip!

#80 Alexandra

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 09:47 AM

Just picked up an excellent seat for this. I love how you can always get good seats at the last minute in the Olivier. Does anyone else get a little shock when Alex Jennings answers the phone? For a moment I always think I've dialled the wrong number,

But my heart sinks at reports of giggling - I know it's fascist but I hate it when for some reason the dynamic of a show creates laughter in what I deem to be inappropriate places. It happens all the time at the Globe, and if you're finding something moving it's intensely irritating.





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