Best of KZN actors bring 'Othello' to life

2009-03-19 00:00

IF your child’s school hasn’t booked seats to see Think Theatre’s production of Othello, then start lobbying them to do so now.

Produced by Margie Coppen and director Clare Mortimer in association with the Playhouse Company, this production will bring this year’s matric setwork vividly to life and is sure to help pupils when it comes to their exams.

The beautiful set created by Mortimer and Bryan Hiles and the costumes, which are at once contemporary and classic, help connect the audience to the Bard’s words in this very human tragedy.

Othello (played by Loyiso MacDonald) is a general in the Venetian army and has won the acclaim of the city through his many exploits. But from the moment he chooses the young Casio (Marc Kay) as his lieutenant instead of Iago (Iain ‘Ewok’ Robinson) his fate is sealed. Iago will stop at nothing to take revenge on his commander.

I missed seeing the talented Farai Gwaze in the title role, but fellow critics have praised his performance with Caroline Smart calling him a “new star” in the Durban theatre environment. That said, his understudy MacDonald is no slouch, and despite his youth brings authority to the role. I was also very impressed with Josette Eales, whose strong and spirited Desdemona is slowly crushed by the weight of Othello’s jealousy.

There are also great performances from Mortimer as Desdemona’s companion Emilia, Adam Dore who produces a great comedic performance as Iago’s hapless stooge Roderigo, and Kay as the suave and charming Casio. But it’s Robinson who really stands out — his Iago is funny, bitter and angry, and when proposing the deaths of Casio and Roderigo, quite chilling.

Some critics may argue that Shakespeare’s works have no place in our modern world. Frankly, I think they’re wrong. Othello is a truly human story and this particular production is well directed, well paced and features some of the best actors in KwaZulu-Natal. Don’t miss it.

Estelle Sinkins

• Othello is at the Playhouse Drama Theatre until March 23. Performance times are 9 am and noon daily. Tickets R35 for pupils, students, pensioners. Booking is at Computicket or the Playhouse box office at 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596.

It will also be performed at the Hilton College Theatre from March 24 to March 31. Tickets are R35 (free for teachers who bring pupils to the show) and can be booked at 033 383 0126.

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