The staging was sparse, with characters carrying out the props at the start of each scene and setting them on the almost stage in the round. The careful lighting was great, but this production relies on the actors to give it momentum and mood. And it worked. I've never seen 'Othello' performed and this set a high benchmark under the careful direction of Daniel Evans. The writing is, of course, astonishing, my new favourite Shakespeare play.
If ever there was a double-headed play this is it - a wonderful interplay between Othello and Iago, with Clarke Peters as Othello and Dominic West as Iago. Clarke plays it in his best West African accent and Dominic uses his native Yorkshire accent as the lowly Iago rising through the ranks. I've seen Clarke Peters on stage before and expect a grand performance, particularly the arms-wide expansive moments, but I was impressed by Dominic's wily Iago, the bluster and honesty of the character while being thoroughly dishonest. If you know Dominic then I'd advise against playing poker with him - you'll lose based on the performance I saw. They make a great double act and work well together.
Of the rest of the cast I must mention Alexandra Gilbreath as Emilia, servant to Desdemonia. Chris reminded me that we'd seen her in 'Assassins' at the tiny Union Theatre last summer and here she was again. The early scenes paint her as a minor, almost comic character, but her confrontation of Othello at the end was magnificent, the emotion pouring from her as she accused her lord of murder and wept for her mistress, finally confronting her husband. I was most impressed. She made me think that that is what actors are supposed to do... and how few achieve it. Well done Alexandra, that's a performance worthy of the West End and I hope to see you reprise the role some day.