Mark Antony (Antony Byrne) is one of the triumvirate of Rome, but he has spent most of his time recently in Egypt, where he has begun a torrid affair with Cleopatra (Josette Simon). But now Rome – in the form of Octavius Caesar (Ben Allen) – is calling for him to return, so that he can take up the fight against pirates. Against Cleopatra’s wishes and his own, Antony follows that order. But the demands of Rome are not easily fulfilled.
I’ve seen quite a few RSC productions by now (thanks to broadcasts) and there were few I actually liked. Antony and Cleopatra was the point where I decided to leave the broadcasts be for now, because I really could not stand this production.
Director: Iqbal Khan
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Hugh Quarshie, Lucian Msamati, Joanna Vanderham, Ayesha Dharker, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, James Corrigan, Scarlett Brookes, Brian Protheroe
Seen on: 26.8.2015
When Iago (Lucian Msamati) doesn’t get the promotion he expected from his superior, Othello (Hugh Quarshie), but instead has to watch the younger Cassio (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) getting promoted above him, he decides to have his revenge on Othello and Cassio. He uses the people around him to make Othello insanely jealous of his wife Desdemona (Joanna Vanderham). He spins intrigue after intrigue and, as can be expected, things don’t end well.
Othello is basically the classic play about race relations and since it was done many times already, people like to switch it around. The last time I saw it [if you don’t count the re-write I saw] (which was many years ago and still has one of the most mind-boggling casts I ever saw on stage), everybody but Iago and Desdemona was a person of color, this time they made Iago black to see what changes. And while I like the thought of that experiment, I didn’t like this production of the play. It was way too boring.