1st - 19th November 2016
Upstairs At The Gatehouse, Highgate
Directed by: Ross McGregor
Written by: William Shakespeare
Movement Direction: Will Pinchin
Fight Direction: Keith Wallis
Producer: Caley Powell
Assistant Producer: Julia Mucko
Music Arrangement: Pascal Magdinier
Melody Composition: Maeve O'Sullivan
Musical Direction: Paula Brett
Lighting Design: Beth Gibbs
Sound Design & Videography: Gareth Kearns
Production Photography: Davor Tovarlaza
Elle Banstead-Salim as Maria / Bianca
Cornelia Baumann as Olivia / Emilia
Pippa Caddick as Viola / Desdemona
Adam Elliott as Malvolio / Cassio
David Grace as Sir Andrew / Roderigo
Spencer Lee Osborne as Antonio / Othello
Pearce Sampson as Orsino / Iago
Alex Stevens as Sebastian / Montano
Tom Telford as Sir Toby / Brabantio
Lloyd Warbey as Feste / Lodovico
london pub theatres - 5 stars
"Arrows & Traps have gained a solid reputation as one of the best repertory companies on the circuit. Now they have pulled out all the stops by performing two of Shakespeare’s well-loved plays, Othello and Twelfth Night on alternate nights, with the same cast. Furthermore, it affords the opportunity to become familiar with some of the actors and enjoy seeing them in a variety of roles.
"Othello is Shakespeare’s passionate tale of jealousy, an emotion fully explored and highlighted by director Ross McGregor and his cast of ten actors. It is interesting to see what love can do and what people are capable of doing in the face of it. In the main plot Iago, played with a cool and calm exterior by Pearce Sampson, is passed over for military promotion in favour of Cassio, by his friend, Othello. Seeing the Moor’s life flourish, his friendship turns to hatred and he vows to destroy him. This takes the form of duping Othello into believing his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio. Othello, agonised by this thought, is further persuaded by Iago that he should strangle her to death.
"Sampson’s interpretation of the role, grows on you. His character is instrumental in grounding the story. As Iago, he is a nasty piece of work, bringing pain and havoc wherever he can; a man who intelligently thinks through his methods of revenge whilst enjoying random acts of cruelty. He has a nose for weakness and he thrives on manipulating people. It is a multi-layered portrayal.
"The director, McGregor, makes good use of the military background to the story, making perfect sense of the text without the need for any patronising over-acting or miming (sometimes seen in Shakespearian productions in the effort to make it more ‘accessible’). With popular television programmes such as Our Girl and documentaries about the military we have become more familiar with the lifestyles and how they appear. McGregor brings this production into sharp focus with contemporary resonances.
"Four more exceptional performances of the night came from Spencer Lee Osborne (Othello), Pippa Caddick (Desdemona), Cornelia Baumann (Emilia) and character actor Tom Telford (Brabantio/Gratiano). Spencer Lee Osborne’s facial expressions are exquisite, taking us on Othello’s journey, from the ego of happiness, through to biting uncertainty and finally the insanity of a murderer.
"Many highlights in the play, included the fight scene, masterfully directed by Keith Wallis, and juxtaposed during friezes with Iago’s asides. The broad stage was used effectively by being divided into three playing areas which allowed contrasting scenes to be shown at the same time. Desdemona’s death was given full expression with a surreal twist which gave an impression of time expanding and slowing down.
"The set and the costumes could have been more extravagant but it is perhaps the simplicity of these which allowed Shakespeare’s text in all its complexity to come alive and shine through luminously, without their distraction.
"Othello and Twelfth Night alternate and include some matinee performances as well as evenings until 19th November."
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Heather Jeffery - LONDON PUB THEATRES