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Othello: The Moor of Venice - Riverside Studios


Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ORANGUTAN Productions make their theatre debut at Riverside Studios with Othello: The Moor of Venice, which runs from January 15 to February 8, 2014.

What happens when Shakespearean tragedy is mixed with the tensions and insecurities of film noir?

Orangutan Productions’ debut show is described as a gritty and breathless drama, exhilarating, relevant and sure to linger in the mind long after it is over.

Fear, mistrust, loss of innocence and paranoia are readily evident in the noir genre and there are few playwrights whose work fits so perfectly when transposed into that setting.

The criminal, violent, hard-boiled or greedy perspectives of anti-heroes in film noir were a metaphoric symbol of society’s evils. This was coupled with a strong undercurrent of moral conflict, purposelessness and an acutely strong sense of injustice.

The cast comprises Stefan Adegbola (Michael Grandage Company) as Othello, West End regular Peter Lloyd as Iago, Gillian Saker (Ripper Street, Misfits) as Desdemona, Andrew Lewis (Holby City, 2000 – 2010) as Brabantio, Jade Matthews, Sam Blythe, Max Wilson, Gemma Stroyan, Fergal Philips, James Lawrence and Alistair Scott.

Othello, with its turbulent hierarchical world in which power and position make the highest prize, sits perfectly within the ambience anxiety, pessimism and suspicion of the film noir period.

When one man’s ambition fails, he exacts his twisted, jealous vengeance under the guise of love and loyalty.

Seductive and inviting, yet low-key, with lighting and set design evocative of the classic film noir black-and-white visual style, Orangutan do away with the well worn pre-conceptions of the play and embrace how well it fits with much of the attitude of classic noir – derived from the hardboiled school of American crime fiction.

Orangutan Productions are a new and ambitious company, aiming to fill a niche of high-quality, off-west end Shakespeare in London. They aim to appeal to new audiences through highly stylised (portrayal) productions alongside cinematic marketing trailers, and pre-show workshops, to introduce and excite students about the beauty of classical theatre.

Othello is directed by Rebekah Fortune, with Assistant Director Jimmy Walters. Set design is by Libby Todd, costume design by Eleanor Bull and Paola Molinaro and lighting by Will Ingham. The composer is Piers Sherwood-Roberts.

Tickets: £16, £14 concessions – available on 020 8237 1111 or online at

Times: Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Tuesday and Thursday matinees at 3.45pm; January 18 and 25 and February 1 and 8 at 3pm.