Othello by Frantic Assembly

I don’t go to the Lowry as much as I should.  It’s a great theatre and has interesting shows, but it’s slightly off the Manchester radar at times.  But I was excited by the prospect of Frantic Assembly’s ‘Othello’ at the Quays Theatre (the smaller of the two main spaces – there is also an excellent studio space).

Right from the start the music, the action and the setting throw you into a world of violence and suspicion.  By fusing brilliant dance with a pared down version of the text, Frantic Assembly present a raw, tight version of ‘Othello’.  The action moves quickly, focusing on the key parts of the story.  Dialogue is delivered with menace.  Blood is certain to be spilt.

It’s greatly helped by a cast of superb actors who gel as a group and deliver excellent individual performances throughout the play.  Interaction is key and you believe the relationships presented on this stage.

There are some amazing and innovative scenes.  The opening dance sequence sets the place and mood wonderfully; the movement in Cassio’s drunk scene is astounding; the use of a moving wall for the rear of the set allows actors to be engulfed by their surroundings, to hide and to watch; the pool table and fruit machine more than props around which the action pivots.

It’s also a more accessible route into Shakespeare.  At almost two hours with no interval, that is a real achievement.  It runs until the 29th November and it is not to be missed.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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