5 Stars For Othello: Remixed - A Refreshing Modern Take On A Shakespeare Classic
Shakespeare, an all-black cast, and a boxing ring. This is what London-theatre in 2019 looks like and I for one am loving it! Darren Raymond’s very bold adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most prominent plays deserves all the rave reviews and attention it is getting, plus some.
Othello: Remixed sticks pretty much to the original narrative of the overall story but instead of revisiting 1603 it brings it forward to 2019 and instead of Venice, we are placed firmly in a boxing ring in what I imagined to be the South-East of London. Othello (played superbly by Kwame Reed) is now a boxer preparing for the biggest fight of his career and Lago, his friend and ultimate betrayer, is his sparring partner. Shorts and mini-skirts replace robes, the boxing ring replaces king’s courts and swords are replaced with guns. And even with the mention of Nando’s and the appearing of mobilephones, it all works exceptionally well.
Mixing the original language of Shakespeare, with its intricately built in iambic pentameter, with modern South-London-slang could not have been an easy exercise and yet this was the sheer brilliance of this very well crafted piece of writing by Darren Raymond. To lead from the beautiful poetry of, ‘Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe…’ to ‘I saw her in Nando’s’ shouldn’t have worked and yet it did and exceptionally well with the whole cast demonstrating with flying colours the importance of bringing more diverse characters to London-theatres.
Finally, in delivering the deceptive character of Lago who is both friend and villain, Baba Oyejide carried the weight of the story with a relentless energy and focus that was quite simply awe-inspiring.
Written and Directed by Darren Raymond, Othello: Remixed is a classic modern-day triumph!
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