Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of Clint Dyer's OTHELLO?

Giles Terera and Rosy McEwen star in the new production at the National Theatre

Review Roundup: What Did the Critics Think of Clint Dyer's OTHELLO?

Clint Dyer's production is the first Othello from a black director at the National. Starring Giles Terera as Othello and Rosy McEwen as Desdemona, the Shakespearean tragedy opened last night (30 November).

What did the critics think of the new revival?

Alexander Cohen: BroadwayWorld: From the moment where he muscles onto the stage, Giles Terera's Othello has a warrior's concretene physicality. His presence is daunting, happy to exhibit his dexterity with a training stick and throw a few strikes at a punching bag. Jealously induces a physical as well as a mental metamorphosis, the warrior's composure is reduced to jittery psychosis. There is a painful resonance to this: BAME communities are at higher risk of developing mental health problems in adulthood than any other ethnic group in the UK.

Sarah Crompton: WhatsOnStage: Dyer is the first Black director of the play in a major British theatre and the depth of his thinking about its meanings is clear in every scene. First, we see Othello the warrior, displaying his warlike prowess in the centre of Chloe Lamford's monochrome stage, starkly lit by Jai Morjaria. Then we realise how quickly applause and gratitude can turn to disgust, as Paul Hilton's black-shirted, Oswald Moseley lookalike, slyly eggs on the equivalent of a lynch mob, their bright brands burning to discover if Desdemona has indeed escaped her father's house to marry her love and commit - in Shakespeare's shocking phrase - "treason of the blood."

Arifa Akbar: The Guardian: A new vision does come though, breathtakingly so, in a radical half-hour at the end when it feels as if Dyer is revealing another play beneath the story we know about jealousy and mistrust in which Othello is a flawed hero who commands our sympathies. This other play is about the tragedy of domestic violence. The women are not reduced to victims here while the men, including Othello, are controlling, toxic abusers. It is an almost obvious interpretation, once we have seen and heard it, yet it makes the play feel utterly new.

Nick Curtis: Evening Standard: Almost everything here is harsh and stark. Iago mentally and physically abuses his wife Emilia (a bruised, affecting Tanya Franks). Chloe Lamford's set, of steeply raked steps on three sides, suggests a parade ground and a gladiatorial arena. The supporting players who gather to lynch Othello in the opening scene become coldly hostile spectators or emblems of the madness seeded in his mind.

Clive Davis: The Times: In the end, the cascade of arresting visuals wins you over. Clint Dyer's production - the first Othello from a black director at the National - isn't particularly subtle about the way it makes race the central theme, but as a visceral piece of theatre, it grabs you by the throat and shakes and shakes until you submit.

Othello is at The National Theatre until 21 January 2023

Photo Credit: Myah Jeffers

Photos: See Aimee Lou Wood & More in Rehearsals for CABARET Photo
Get a first look at Aimee Lou Wood, John McCrea and Nathan Ives-Moiba in rehearsals for CABARET at the Kit Kat Club!

Christina Bianco Makes Pheasantry Concert Debut
in London Next Month Photo
Internationally acclaimed singer, actor and impressionist, Christina Bianco makes her Pheasantry debut with her first solo concert in over a year.  

Tickets from £30 for MEDEA Starring Sophie Okonedo Photo
What could turn a woman from a lover into a destroyer of love?

Guest Blog: Lucy Gray from PRIDE & PREJUDICE* (*SORT OF) Talks Regency Chaos, Audience Photo
Jane Austen is a very funny woman. It seems that she is often thought of in terms of stuffy period dramas, empire line dresses and Colin Firth. But if you ever choose to go about reading one of her books (an activity I can only recommend) then you’ll see that her work is brimming with wit, sexiness and a deep critique of what society considers to be important.

From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan

Aliya Al-Hassan is UK Managing Editor of BroadwayWorld. A London-based theatre critic and journalist, she has a life-long passion for the arts, with a focus on theatre and opera. She is a... (read more about this author)

Tickets from £30 for MEDEA Starring Sophie OkonedoTickets from £30 for MEDEA Starring Sophie Okonedo
January 27, 2023

What could turn a woman from a lover into a destroyer of love?

Review: TWO BILLION BEATS, Orange Tree TheatreReview: TWO BILLION BEATS, Orange Tree Theatre
January 27, 2023

Sonali Bhattacharyya's Two Billion Beats beautifully captures the intricacies of a siblings' relationship as the pair navigate exam pressure, racism and social injustice. When Bettina asks for her sister's help, Asha's desire for the truth to be heard has consequences for both of them.

Michael Longhurst to Step Down as Artistic Director of the Donmar WarehouseMichael Longhurst to Step Down as Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse
January 26, 2023

After five years in the role, Michael Longhurst has announced that he will step down as Artistic Director of The Donmar Warehouse when his contract ends in February 2024.

Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Richmond TheatreReview: STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Richmond Theatre
January 26, 2023

As with so many famous films, there was first a play. Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias remains best known for being the 1989 weepie with a stellar cast featuring Dolly Parton, Sally Fields and Julia Roberts, but began life Off-Broadway over thirty years ago.

BIG NIGHT OF MUSICALS Returns to BBC One and BBC Radio 2BIG NIGHT OF MUSICALS Returns to BBC One and BBC Radio 2
January 26, 2023

For the second year running, Big Night Of Musicals will be staged by The National Lottery at the AO Arena Manchester on Monday 27 February, bringing together the biggest shows from the world of theatre for a spectacular celebration.