Choice: Theatre: Othello
Thursday 04 December 1997
In the right hands, Shakespeare's study of envy and jealousy, race and rage leaps from the page into your blood supply. The plotting alone should grip you by the throat and that's certainly the case in Sam Mendes's 1930s production. It is indebted to Trevor Nunn's heartstopping staging of almost 10 years ago (with Ian McKellen's thrillingly malevolent Iago, Willard White's bombastic Othello and a matchless Emilia from Zoe Wanamaker) but it has several pluses of its own. As Othello, David Harewood exudes danger which makes the murder of Claire Skinner's slim but steely Desdemona seem terrifyingly plausible. Simon Russell Beale's horrifying Iago (above) commands the stage with an almost weaselly vigour which Mendes harnesses to build a claustrophobic intensity worthy of a truly great thriller. Which, of course, it is. Day seats and returns only.
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