Wednesday, April 26, 2006


"Rude am I in my speech"

The production of Othello by the Munchner Kammerspiele was Shakespeare, but not as we know it - a two hour [without an interval] version rewritten in colloquial German and directed by Luk Perceval. Full of sex, violence and profanity, translated for the English surtitles by Deborah Shaw, who now has a new familiarity with the wilder shores of the German language, it was not to everyone's taste, as the two contrasting reviews below show. I liked it very much - it was exactly the sort of adventurous experiment that the RSC should sponsor in a season such as this.

"If you like your Shakespeare thrown around a bit, then you'd have relished the Kammerspiele's tough way with Othello.....brilliant use of music, in this case composed, played and sometimes sung by Jens Thomas, crouched over the keyboard at his elevated concert grand.... If much of this makes free with Shakespeare, it does so to powerfully disconcerting effect. The price paid for the loss of the original language is more than made up for by the sheer theatrical punch of Perceval's interpretation."
The Spectator.

"Luk Perceval's production was the first foreign visitor to the RSC's Complete Works Festival, and I found it purgatory to sit through. The shadowy lighting is an insult to both the audience and the actors, whose features can often barely be discerned. The performances waste no opportunity for degenerating into crude rant, and the blocking - which regularly places the players delivering dialogue out front to the audience rather than to one another - does not promote subtlety in the presentation of relationships……A version of the play that comes to an abrupt halt at her death should by rights leave you feeling cheated of Othello's subsequent agonised journey to suicide. Here, though, I was stoically grateful."
The Independent

Personal star rating out of five

Othello ****


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8:10 AM  

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