BWW Review: OTHELLO at Trinity Rep

BWW Review: OTHELLO at Trinity RepTrinity Rep's new production of Othello, directed by Whitney White and presented in the round at Trinity's Chace Theatre, is macho, engaging and spirited, but Tuesday's Opening Night performance suffered from whole chunks of inaudible dialog. Whether this was due to the too-rapid delivery of lines or an unfortunate trick of the acoustics (although the actors were miked), it was not just an unwelcome distraction as William Shakespeare's 400-year-old poetry is as much at the heart of the play as the plot (since we all already know how it ends).

Equally distracting were elements of the lighting. Othello's entrance to one of the play's pivotal scenes was backlit with a powerful light, which also blinded audience members sitting across from it. And when the play's final scene was conducted with the entire house brightly lit-attention was drawn away from the main action as suddenly every audience member was fully illuminated and -in the round setting -in direct view.

While the contemporary flavor of the costuming, (minimal) setting and sound was an interesting way to imbue the play with a modern relevance, at times some aspects of this were more puzzling than enhancing, such as closing the first act with a few bars of the mid-20th century country-western classic, Your Cheatin' Heart played over the sound system.

However, Stephen Thorne shone in this production as the conniving villain Iago, lighting the entirety of this long show with his commanding stage presence and consistently good performance. He portrayed Iago with a slippery likability and just the right touch of comedy.

Another high point was the drunken brawl in Act II. Choreographed by Zdenko Martin, it was brilliantly executed by Charlie Thurston as Cassio, Ryan Joseph Broussard as Montano, Mauro Hantman as Roderigo and Thorne.

Jude Sandy was an elegant Othello, and his Caribbean accent added charm to the character, helping define Othello as the intriguing outsider who captured the heart of Desdemona, played by Rebecca Gibel.

Angela Brazil was a joy to watch as Emilia, Iago's wife. Her genius for subtle facial expressions brought the entire house to laughter at times.

Othello continues at Trinity Rep's Chace Theatre until March 18. For more information, go to www.trinityrep.com

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From This Author Barb Burke

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