IT’S a classic case of mission accomplished for HOME, whic set out to place the female characters centre stage in its modern reworking of two of Shakespeare’s undisputed classics.
With the deftest of modern touches, the Library Theatre’s successor brings us two condensed versions of the Bard’s greatest tragedies and, thanks to the skills of director Jude Christian and dramaturg Elayce Ismail, the power of these two equally compelling tales remains well and truly intact.
This production, which transfixed a large party of teenagers at the Thursday matinee, is a joint production between HOME and the Lyric Hammersmith. The prospect of these two companies working together is a mouth watering one.
For those Shakespeare virgins, this production is an ideal introduction to the works of the greatest playwright this country has ever produced. It should whet your appetite to see more even if Othello, in terms of its dialogue, isn’t the easiest of his plays to fall in love with.
By far the most sympathetic of the female leads is Desdemona, trying to make sense of her husband Othello’s sudden and dramatic change in character. Kirsten Foster is so convincing in this role, making her character’s transition for doting wife to a woman living in fear thanks to a plot hatched by Shakespeare’s slipperiest of baddies Iago, played by a perfectly cast Samuel Collings. I also liked Melissa Johns as Emilia, delivering her lines in a Manchester accent and once again proving you don’t have to sound like the speaking clock to perform the works of William Shakespeare.
Dressed like someone you’d meet at one of Margot and Jerry’s dinner parties, Caroline Faber is quietly menacing as Lady Macbeth and alongside Sandy Grierson (Macbeth) they make a fabulous double act.
A hit, a very palpable hit, as Will Shakespeare might say. It was even worth a soaking on the way home.
Until September 29. The box office is on 0161 200 1500. Star rating - ****