Othello at Wilton’s Music Hall
A stunningly powerful show in a powerfully stunning theatre. The intimate and beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall plays host to Richard Twyman’s relevant and brilliant adaptation of Othello, co-produced by Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory. The play is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, a tale to bring tears to the eyes through moments of deceit, betrayal and worse; Othello at Wilton’s Music Hall is no less than that, and a simple modern twist, with the main character as a Muslim general, brings it into the here and now.
A stripped-back, almost naked production, this interpretation is free from elaborate costumes, ornate set pieces and props that clutter the stage. The focus is entirely on the bard’s words, the actors and their performances. And what incredible performances they give. Every player in Richard Twyman’s staging of the tragedy could be specially mentioned: Abraham Popoola (as Othello) and Katy Stephens (as Emilia) for their powerful emotional eruptions; Piers Hampton (as Cassio) for his fantastic drunk acting; and Ghazwan Alsafadi (as Montano) for being flawless, despite this being not only his first Shakespearean role, but his theatrical debut in London too.
But even among such a confident cast, Mark Lockyer’s Iago and Norah Lopez Holden’s Desdemona stand out as being truly amazing. Each line is not just delivered, it is lived. Every movement, from the dancing to the tiniest twitch of a face, is deliberate. It’s also interesting to note that for a play originally written in time where only men were allowed to be actors, the female cast members provide particularly moving performances.
Instrumentals and songs are used minimally, but each and every musical moment sends shivers down the spine, making the audience beg for more – Montano and Desdemona’s singing is beautiful. More music would be welcomed but it is perhaps its sparsity that makes it so powerful.
Richard Twyman’s Othello is highly recommended and it is hard to believe there could be a better setting for it than Wilton’s Music Hall.
Photo: The Other Richard
Othello is at Wilton’s Music Hall from 16th May until 3rd June 2017, for further information or to book visit here.