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Othello - National Theatre (Olivier)

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

NICHOLAS Hytner will direct Adrian Lester in the title role and Rory Kinnear as Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, which opens in the Olivier Theatre on April 23, 2013 (previews from April 16) before continuing in repertoire.

Othello, newly married to Desdemona who is half his age, is appointed leader of a military operation to defend Cyprus from the Turks. Iago, his ensign, passed over for promotion in favour of young Cassio, persuades Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair.

The cast also includes Jonathan Bailey (Cassio), Sandy Batchelor, Adam Berry, David Carr, William Chubb, Robert Demeger, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Gabriel Fleary, Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi, Scott Karim, David Kirkbride, Lyndsey Marshal (Emilia), Tom Radford, Tom Robertson, Nick Sampson, Chook Sibtain, Rebecca Tanwen, Olivia Vinall (Desdemona) and Joseph Wilkins.

Adrian Lester, an NT Associate, was last seen at the National in the title role of Nicholas Hytner’s production of Henry V. His theatre work also includes Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre, 2012 Critics’ Circle Best Actor Award), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (West End), Company (Donmar Warehouse, Olivier Award), the title role in Peter Brook’s production of Hamlet (Paris/international tour) and Rosalind in Cheek by Jowl’s As You Like It.

On television, he has appeared in five series of the BBC’s Hustle.

Rory Kinnear’s work for the National includes The Last of the Haussmans, the title role in Hamlet (also directed by Nicholas Hytner; Evening Standard Best Actor Award), Burnt by the Sun, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Philistines and The Man of Mode (Olivier and Ian Charleson Awards).

His screen work includes Black Mirror: The National Anthem, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, Count Arthur Strong and Margaret Thatcher – The Long Walk to Finchley.

Since he became Director of the National in April 2003, Nicholas Hytner has directed Henry V, His Dark Materials, The History Boys, Stuff Happens, Henry IV, Southwark Fair, The Alchemist, The Man of Mode, The Rose Tattoo (with Steven Pimlott), Rafta, Rafta… , Much Ado About Nothing, Major Barbara, England People Very Nice, Phèdre, The Habit of Art, London Assurance, Hamlet, Collaborators, Travelling Light, One Man Two Guvnors, Timon of Athens, People and Cocktail Sticks.

Othello will be designed by Vicki Mortimer, with lighting by Jon Clark and fight direction by Kate Waters.