Review: Othello, Nuffield, Southampton

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Wow. Frantic Assembly’s 100-minute retelling of Othello at the Nuffield Theatre left me breathless.

And it was the set and dancing that did it.

I’ve never seen foldable walls like the badly wallpapered one on stage reminiscent of so many dodgy pubs from years gone by.

The walls, unlike the real thing, shaped and reshaped while you’re watching, creating hiding holes, giving the feeling of soft drunkenness (when everything can move), claustrophobia and more.

Add that to the banging nightclub tunes and amazing dance/fight routines which had the cast leaping between pool table and chair backs, via a quick swing around a pool cue, and you’re got a play that leaves no room for respite or consideration.

The action played out against a backing soundtrack which started as a nightclub before disintegrating into sirens.

I lost what we might have been listening to at the end as I was holding out for a twist in the tale and a happy ending.

Not a chance. Othello’s and Desdemona’s doomed relationship continued as it has for hundreds of years, to end in death and destruction... but never has it been so beautiful – even if the cast were dressed in tracksuits with a huge undercurrent of chav.