REVIEW – Othello: The Remix

Bars are great, right?

I mean, this is a universal opinion, yeah?

We all know they’re awesome….

 

During my extended stay in New York, bars have been my second home. Being here alone, I can disappear into the crowd of a busy bar and meet all sorts of weird and wonderful people.

Some of those people even have particularly interesting jobs…

Recently, in a local bar named Daltons, I got speaking to a few friendly guys who just so happened to be part of an off-Broadway show called Othello: The Remix. These gentlemen (The Q Brothers) were even kind enough to offer me two-tickets for the next evening’s show. Didn’t I say bars are great?!

Othello: The Remix is a hip-hop based spin on the tragic tale originally written by the legendary William Shakespeare. Essentially, imagine if Shakespeare had written Othello during the fan-faire that followed the release of the 8-mile movie. I’ll be brutally honest and admit that I didn’t know much about the The Q Brothers and their previous work before this show; but after a quick Google search (can’t say I don’t do my research for posts…) it appeared that Othello wasn’t the first of the Bard’s work that the guys had given a modern adaption.

For me, this was a sign for the positive, multiple shows is surely a sign of quality, right?

It also became apparent that Othello: The Remix had toured …pretty much the entire world by this point! With runs in multiple locations across the U.S.A, Korea, London and even a stay at the infamous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

(Ok, possibly a bit of hyperbole in that initial statement.)

I was looking forward to this!

 

The show itself was extraordinary.

With only 4-actors and a DJ on the stage, what they produced was a “remixed” but respectful adaption of Shakespeare’s classic in 80 minutes. There was no intermission, which was a clever move by the creators. The energy of the show was intense; to break half way through would have definitely been detrimental for both the actors performances and my own enjoyment.

In “The Remix” we see the cast sticking true to Love, Betrayal and Death – the themes of the original classic (and most of Shakespeare’s other work). We see Othello – the hottest hip-hop artist on the planet – falling for an (unseen) beauty Desdemona. With Othello success and love, comes problems. With jealousy brewing between other members of Othello’s clique … slowly beginning to descent into chaos.

The show is set entirely to music, with well written hip-hop songs being used to move the story along at a rapid-fire pace. As expected in a 4-man show, each actor had a multitude of characters to play … with costume changes consisting largely of wigs and aprons which had “outfits” depicted on them. It was a very creative and clever way of minimising change time while still giving the desired effect of creating the visual impact of a new character. However, despite the “novelty” way in which the story is portrayed, the performers knew how to bring the show back to its serious, tragic, theme when needed.

For me, the stand-out performers of the night were the Q Brothers themselves; GQ and JQ. Their grasp on the material was simply outstanding. Their jump between characters and their understanding of the necessary tone was perfect in pretty much every aspect. This is perhaps to be expected from guys who carry the titles “Writers / Composers / Directors / Performers” of the show; but impressive nonetheless.

If you are in the New York area between now and the end of their run; head along to the Westside Theatre and check out Othello: The Remix. It’s worth the trip!

othello-1othello-2

 

 

Photos by Monica Simoes

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s