Scores top marks in every category for me. Superb intelligent acting, Adrian Lester as an Othello punching above his weight and going to pieces under pressure. Rory Kinnear acting his socks off with a completely coherent portrayal of a nasty little man who has everyone fooled and just keeps pushing Othello that little bit further. Lyndsay Marshal putting all her heart into Emilia and Olivia Vinall entirely convincing as the naive and baffled Desdemona. As a person who generally dislikes "modern dress" I was bowled over by the present-day military setting - you could subtitle the play "An Army Base Tragedy. An earlier reviewer complains about the setting which "seems to take place in a cramped premier inn room." For me the clever set and design showed up lots of earlier productions, where fancy Venetian costumes and lavish velvet-hung rooms now seem to me to have been a rather lazy approach. This reviewer saw Laurence Olivier and Frank Finlay in "Othello" [twice] and believe me Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear are worthy successors. An "Othello" for our time.
Opened 16 Apr 2013
Olivier (National Theatre) 0843 886 1436
Well, this was actually quite a disappointing production. It can be summed up by the term patchy. What saves this production are the two leads Kinnear and Lester who are incredible but the production is somewhat lacklustre. The fault for me is in the setting. Certain scenes just don't work, a prime example being the climatic final act that seems to take place in a cramped premier inn room and at times is laughable. There was also so much shouting In the show that I was surprised some of the actors didn't feint. Go for Iago and Othello but otherwise decidedly mixed.
A thrilling, moving, stunningly well acted production which brought many of the audience members to their feet applauding when I saw it yesterday. Three hours vanished in a flash. No imagination?! We must have been watching different plays!
A production with no imagination and set as many productions at the National are these days once again in a type of Camp Bastion with the actors in modern army dress. Obviously the NT wants to make full use of the army iniforms they bought many years ago and by goodness Hytner has made full use of them in most his productions. This laziness is wearing a bit thin now and becoming quite boring as it is in this production. It is not he the fault of the actors either as they do put perform as best as they can. It really is time for Mr Hytner to give up if this is all he can offer these days. Thankfully some of us have seen better productions of Othello particularly the one at the Donmar a few years ago.
A glorious finale to Hytner's NT tenure; absolutely first-rate production that remints this play magnificently, and the acting is uniformly superb.
What is not mentioned by any critics are the surprisingly funny moments. A moment of hesitation, a look at the audience and a laughter of genuine amusement about the irrational situation runs through the audience. The command of the audience is amazing but both leads. A must see.