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William Shakespeare's

Othello (2019)

May 3rd - 27thFestival TheatreTicket Info
Generally Positive Reviews based on 10 Critics
  • top 99% of shows in the 2019 season
  • most reviewed show of the season
10 Reviews

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This is a listing for the 2019 season. For the current 2023 shows click here.

The Stage Door - Christopher Hoile

History of unsatisfactory...

“The Stratford Festival has a strange history of presenting unsatisfactory productions of Othello, as least judging from the previous four I have seen here. In some there is an imbalance of strength between Othello and Iago, usually on the side of Iago. To have an imbalance between Othello and both Iago and Desdemona is a highly unusual error. I would like to say that Michael Blake’s performance alone makes this Othello worth seeing, but Othello is a play about interaction and Blake, no matter how excellent his work, cannot make up for that lack on its own.”

Read Full Review06/14/2019

NOW - Susan G. Cole

The emphasis shifts from jealousy to...

“Director Nigel Shawn Williams gives the play some much-needed texture by giving it a contemporary setting and emphasizing the racism that fuels Iago’s resentment and the misogyny that helps bring Othello down.

These themes are there dimly in the text, but Williams makes them vivid via some smart strategies.”

Read Full Review06/04/2019

The Slotkin Letter - Lynn Slotkin

Clear vision and sense of detail

“It’s terrific. Nigel Shawn Williams has directed with such a clear vision and sense of detail. The basic structure of Denyse Karn’s set are bleak grey walls with three doors in the walls….

Othello is a play about jealousy, racism, passion and manipulation that is powerfully done.”

Read Full Review06/04/2019

Broadway World - Lauren Gienow

Strong Performances and a Tragic...

“There is much discomfort to go around with this play. Its events are charged by racism and misogyny and perhaps the reason it is so uncomfortable for the audience is because everything that happens in this play happens every single day in the world we live in. This is also, perhaps, the reason why this play is so important…

It is early to know for sure, but Miller’s Iago may be the most memorable character of this season. We first see him with a seething anger about being passed up for the position of lieutenant-this, allegedly being what sets him on a path of destruction-but as the play progresses and he becomes braver and cockier as he revels in his own villainy, one has to wonder if this dark side had just been waiting for an excuse to rear its ugly head. Miller is somehow simultaneously charming and creepy throughout most of the play”

Read Full Review05/29/2019

The Globe and Mail - J. Kelly Nestruck

A tragedy about racism – or misogyny?

“In the new modern-day production directed by Nigel Shawn Williams at the Stratford Festival, it’s the way female characters are put down, pushed aside or ultimately “put out” like a light that makes the play a deeply perturbing one.

The exquisite actor Laura Condlln delivers the key performance as Emilia…”

Read Full Review05/28/2019

Entertain This Thought - Mary Alderson

Laura Condlln is excellent

“Laura Condlln is excellent as Emilia, Iago’s wife, who is assigned to be Desdemona’s companion. She is also a member of the army, and stands by, dressed in her camouflage fatigues. Condlln gives us a self-assured Emilia who grows to see though her husband’s evil plan.

This is another production in modern dress – there are no Shakespearean pumpkin pants or ancient Italian costumes. The clothing reminds us that this is today – the regrowth of racism, misogyny, and narcissism which are with us now more than ever.

Read Full Review06/03/2019

James Wegg Reviews - James Wegg

Gordon Miller is marvellously despicable

“In director Nigel Shawn Williams’ very capable hands, Shakespeare’s tale of emboldened deceit was given a decidedly two-hander approach, pitting the hapless Moor (Michael Blake in first-class form as he is moulded like clay to the point of murder) being driven to deadly despair by his extra-loyal underling/advisor, Iago (Gordon Miller is marvellously despicable bidding others to do his nefarious will by spouting half-truths at best and easily lying through his nefarious teeth).

Other impressive performances emanate from Laura Condlin’s wide-ranging Emilia, Jonathan Sousa’s readily perplexed Cassio and Shruti Kothari’s tart-with-a-heart rendering of Bianca.”

Read Full Review05/28/2019

Toronto Star - Karen Fricker

The Stratford Festival boldly...

“Blake’s Othello is beautifully spoken, poised and feline: in all ways attuned to the world around him. He’s succeeded by contradicting in practice the low expectations that society has of him. Which is not to say he’s crafty; he’s savvy and principled.

Amongst any number of bold moves, perhaps the production’s boldest is to paint the person responsible for stirring up and instrumentalizing this hatred as not an exaggerated, extremist figure but as someone perfectly banal. Gordon S. Miller’s Iago is an average looking guy, balding, not particularly tall, kind of a Michael Keaton type, would probably fade into a crowd.”

Read Full Review05/28/2019

The Stratford Beacon Herald - Galen Simmons

A web of treachery and deceit

“Nigel Shawn Williams’ vision for the classic Shakespearean work leaves nowhere to hide. The character’s raw emotions are on full display – be it the joy of love, the creeping seeds of doubt, the murderous rage of betrayal, or the sickening realization of being played for a fool.”

Read Full Review05/28/2019

On Stage Blog - Joe Szekeres

Miller’s Iago is a highlight

“Gordon S. Miller’s Iago is a performance highlight of the evening. His Iago is everything a villain must be – two faced, deceitful and dishonest – and I can understand completely why any actor would relish the opportunity to play him.”

Read Full Review05/28/2019

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