I love a modern retelling, deconstruction and adaptation of a classic play, and what better play to tackle than Shakespeare’s Othello?
“Nothello” started as if we were watching the original play in it’s raw form, with the occasional interruption from a lone voice in the audience, calling out against the racism, sexism and the other problematic things that this play contains. The play was then ‘interrupted’ by a young man – Harris Cain, (who is a newbie to the stage but seems to take to it really naturally) who it transpires portrayed one of two unborn babies within the ‘womb’ of Desdemona.
The other ‘twin’ I recognised immediately, and I racked my brains for where I knew her from. Turns out she was one of the core cast of Dash Art’s ‘Middlemarch’ adaptation that I’d gone to see last month! Aimee Powell was excellent in both theatre productions, so I’d be really interested to see what she does next!
Related post: The Answer is Communism: The Great Middlemarch Mystery
The play then goes on to challenge and re-write some of the key turning points of the play, which showed to me personally how much of the play is grounded on mistrust between races, classes and sexes (not that I didn’t realise that it was important but it really was the crux of all the characters’ motivations!). It highlighted the experiences of mixed race people and inter-racial couples – not just outward racism but also the micro-aggressions people have to face.
Overall the play was really engaging, and embraced the serious content of the play with grace, humour, and intelligence. All involved in the play showed great talent for creating a balance between a play made to provoke its audience into thinking deeply, and the simple joy of theatre entertainment. I think this was helped by the range of faces of all ages on the stage which created an interesting juxtaposition of polished, professional theatre mixed with the innocence and lightheartedness of youth theatre.
Nothello is available for another week (until 21st May), so be sure to check it out before it ends! This brings a close to my press visits to the Belgrade Theatre for their Spring line-up! I am going to miss it this summer, but I am really looking forward to returning in the Autumn for more incredible theatre productions. I am going to be seeing Burlesque for my birthday and really looking forward to SIX and The Rocky Horror Picture Show!