Review: Othello by Icarus Theatre Collective

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It isn’t among the most popular or frequently performed of Shakespeare’s plays, but Othello potentially has plenty going for it: a battle scene (with great sound effects), several fights with sword and fists, a high body count, and, famously, one of the most tragic love stories in literature.

Icarus Theatre Collective brought it to the Pomegranate for one night last week, and to all these ingredients they added live music.

The actors put across a difficult play with vigour, enthusiasm and some strong performances, even if their diction sometimes let them down. Julian Pindar was suitably dashing as doomed Cassio. Gary Stoner made a colourful, imposing Othello. David Martin’s Iago grew more convincingly evil as the evening progressed.

The eight-strong cast showed themselves to be multi-talented. Several of them sang; women played men in ensemble scenes; and six of the eight each played a stringed instrument, from violin to double bass.

A novel idea, and sometimes it blended well, but unfortunately random pieces of music mid-scene over plot-carrying dialogue can soon become a distraction, especially when clarity and audibility should be a priority.