The National Theatre put on a wonderful showing of Othello this winter.

The play lasted around three hours (including an interview) and featured Giles Terera as Othello, Paul Hilton as Iago, and Rosy McEwan as Desdemona, (to name a few of an altogether amazing cast).

Othello tells the story of Othello, a black general, who is hated on by his peers because of his race and his success. Iago – the villain of the play – plots to ruin Othello, and uses the other characters to make it appear that Desdemona (Othello’s wife) is cheating on him. This drives Othello insane, and he eventually ends up killing Desdemona and then himself.

This interpretation of the Shakespeare was very emotionally raw, and demonstrated very well the themes of unjust racism and sexism, and by extension, the doubts that the characters had in themselves due to the systematic oppression that they were facing.

Despite the serious nature of the play, the jokes, which are difficult to perceive when written on paper, were well acted, and even the smaller characters had interesting nuances.

It was impressive watching Paul Hilton as Iago, because he is on stage for almost the entire play, and has an abundance of passionate soliloquies, which must be exhausting, both emotionally and physically. Iago as a character is very interesting, because even though he is the villain of the play, he is quite cheeky and somewhat likable (in the first act). This role is difficult to pull off, but it was well executed.

Overall, the actors put on a very compelling performance, and it was emotional and interesting. All of the main characters were great, and I would definitely recommend seeing it.