I’ll be brief, as I freely admit that I was fully predisposed to like this one. I’ve so enjoyed Nick Hytner’s contemporary dress Shakespearean journey over the past decade – and with Lester and Kinnear playing the leads we were on pretty steady ground. And, yes, as a National employee, I’m rather partisan. I’ve also always thought that the final scene of this play is the one I’d take to the desert island; a checklist of everything that is great in the Shakespeare. It’s all there: love, passion, tenderness, violence, jealousy, cruelty. There’s triumph, there’s desperation, there’s poetry, there’s anger and, of course, there’s tragedy. The structure is faultless and the emotional arc is perfect. And being a Hytner job, this production has intellectual rigour and brilliant invention. Emilia is a female soldier, Roderigo is Boris Johnson’s brother, Othello’s fit leads him to puke in a nasty toilet and there are Muslim calls to prayer. Significantly, racism is incidental in a play that is about so much more. The set is painfully unromantic and (noting NH’s marvellous Platform on the production) there is not a hint of ethnic exoticism about the title character. Every concept is brilliantly followed through to completion. It’s heartbreaking at the end, as it should be. Not much more to say. It’s just terrific.

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