Othello – The Remix
Energetic reimagining of the Moor of Venice
This article is from 2012.
The third of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s highly successful adaptations of the bard – following The Bomb-itty of Errors and Funk It Up About Nothing in recent years – Othello: the Remix reimagines the Moor of Venice as an American rap god, recently married to the angelic (but never seen) Desdemona, and struggling against the machinations of disgruntled band member Iago.
It’s the virtuoso rapping and hot moves from the four remarkable performers that steal the show, and it all makes perfect sense – their dense, clever rap is the ideal parallel for the poetry of the original (although Shakespeare might not have mentioned crack pipes and bitches).
Performer JQ has a fine line in characterisation, embodying a geeky Roderigo and a splendidly needy Bianca (Iago’s other half), and Jackson Doran is wonderfully wide-eyed and gullible as Cassio, another who falls into Iago’s web. There are a few moments that jar – having a scene played for laughs immediately after the chillingly presented murder of Desdemona strikes a strange note, and some of the characters are sketched in very briefly. But in a show of this much energy, creativity and sheer panache, it hardly matters.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 21), 1.55pm, £12.50–£15 (£10–£12.50).