THEATRE REVIEW - Othello, Royal Shakespeare Theatre Live, South Holland Centre, Spalding

Hugh Quarshie as Othello and Lucian Msamati as Iago in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Shakespeare's classic play about betrayal, revenge and disloyalty.  Photo by Keith Pattison.
Hugh Quarshie as Othello and Lucian Msamati as Iago in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Shakespeare's classic play about betrayal, revenge and disloyalty. Photo by Keith Pattison.

Revenge is a dish best served from the spurned

Othello, William Shakespeare’s timeless epic about unjust promotion, searing vengeance and imploding honour, has been treated to a cultural makeover by Indian director Iqbal Khan.

Starring Hugh Quarshie (Holby City) in the title role, the tale of how an army commander disintegrates into a mire of suspicion and murder is told with a curious mixture of dignity and derangement.

Having seen the award-winning National Theatre Live version with Adrian Lester (Hustle) as Othello and Rory Kinnear (Skyfall) as the vengeful Iago, it was hard not to compare the two.

But if anything, what started out with a dialogue that could have been mistake for a pre-production read-through suddenly caught fire as Lucian Msamati’s Iago watched his dastardly decree of revenge on Othello play out.

Joanne Vanderham (The Paradise) as Desdemona and Ayesha Dharker (The Indian Doctor) as Iago’s wife Emilia brought passion and presence to their roles, without giving away anything of the impending doom to come.

But this version of Othello was all about the loss of friendly innocence, with a slice of cunning as Othello and Iago find hell together.

Review by Winston Brown