Desdemona at the Park Theatre
Bringing to life a parallel story to Shakespeare’s beloved Othello, Desdemona is a fiery depiction of a misogynistic 16th century world and its inhabitants. Big Bear Theatre Company and its cast of just three actresses manage to stir up an ulterior story behind Othello’s wife, Desdemona, who is played with passion by Alice Bailey-Johnson.
Desdemona lives a restricted life in Cyprus, often alone with her long-suffering maid Emilia (Ingrid Lacey). Desdemona’s fate (one that fans of Shakespeare’s work know all too well) hangs in the balance, decided by a simple handkerchief. The tense situation in which Desdemona and Emilia exist is recognisable, but the lack of male presence within the play itself is barely noticeable as the acting and implication bring the extra characters (such as Othello himself, and Cassio) to life.
The third protagonist in Desdemona is vulgar prostitute Bianca (Ursula Early), a strumpet with as much gusto as humanly possible. The relationship between the refined wife of Othello and common Bianca is slightly bizarre, but makes the play all the more compelling.
In fact the unlikely relationship between all three characters is where the Big Bear Theatre Company have really pulled out all the stops. With witty dialogue and the most basic of staging, the emotion provoked is truly rewarding. The performance is complemented with satirical humour, which laces just about every sequence.
The intimate setting of The Park Theatre as usual offers the audience true submersion in the theatrical world. Desdemona offers viewers a hilarious evening’s entertainment, although the crude, suggestive language and acting makes the show unsuitable for the easily offended.
This highly-strung insight into the other side of the well-known story of Othello is likely to strike gold.
Desdemona is at the Park Theatre until 8th June 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.