This 2015 RSC production of Othello soars with its lead pairing of Hugh Quarshie and Lucian Msamati, I really should have gone to see this one
“We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs”
In all honesty, it’s hard to get myself roused for a lot of Shakespeare productions now, the same old plays coming round and round again not appealing like it once did. So it takes something special, or some canning casting choices, to make me sit up and pay attention and Iqbal Khan’s 2015 production of Othello for the RSC certainly has both in spades.
The first production in Stratford to cast a black in Iago in the wonderful Lucian Msamati against Hugh Quarshie’s Othello, the central relationship of the play is blisteringly recast and remixed. The racial dynamic naturally becomes something totally new but entirely fitting, and compelling, you might not quite sympathise with this Iago but you see much more of his point of view.
Supported by Joanna Vanderham and an excellent Ayesha Dharker as Desdemona and Emilia respectively, Ciaran Bagnall’s fluidly adaptive set design frames this modern-dress production beautifully. And not even a snatch of ‘Mr Boombastic’ feels out of place as a titanic and tumultuous rap battle characterises the military mindset so very well.