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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The love, jealously and betrayal of Othello is given a 1970s makeover by Leeds based group, DugOut Theatre Company. To the original tragedy they add flowing dresses, 70s music and military radios, and these new elements generally blend well with the themes and language of the Shakespearean text.

Perhaps the most effective aspect of this interpretation is seeing a fairly modern military; the uniforms, weapons and barracks make the play’s violence more accessible and immediate for a contemporary audience.

Othello has been cast well: his imposing muscular form affords him a credible military prowess, but he also conveys a firmness of purpose and an arresting volatility that makes his fatal flaw convincing- that of his willingness to believe in the seeming honesty of others. Opposite him is a childish, yet devoted Desdemona whose wide-eyed innocence is so compelling that the audience is pained to watch her destruction under Othello’s words and hands.

Finally though, taking the audience by surprise is the actor playing Iago: at first he seems nothing more than a petulant youth but he grows to become a malicious presence on stage, and it is his noteworthy performance that makes this version of Othello worth a visit.

- Charlotte Pegram


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