The Information on: `Othello'
Tuesday 27 April 1999
Michael Attenborough's fresh,
spare production of Shakespeare's neglected masterpiece is set around the time of the First World War and features the first black Othello on Stratford's main stage since Paul Robeson in 1959.
Who's In It?
Ray Fearon (right) has to contend with his relative youth (he's only 31) as the shaven-headed, muscular Othello; Zoe Waites plays Desdemona. However, RSC stalwart, Richard McCabe, steals the show as Othello's dastardly tormentor, Iago.
What They Say About It
"Fearon's youth is against him here. Competent, watchable but hollow and vocally monotonous, he never arouses the requisite anguished embarrassment in the audience," Paul Taylor, The Independent.
"It's an Othello without the right steel grip of momentous inevitability, but what a fierce theatrical hold it still maintains," Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard.
"This consistently absorbing production is clear, uncluttered and full of intelligent detail, yet it never quite achieves greatness," Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph.
"If it never quite takes off, the reason lies in the chemistry of the performances," Robert Butler, The Independent on Sunday.
Where You Can See It
Othello is in rep at the RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon (01789 295623) until 7 Oct
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
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