Othello (Tallas Munro, centre) arrives to meet with the Duke and Senators with his retinue, including his trusted advisors Iago (Ciaran Volke, front left) and Michael Cassio (Una Rekić, right). Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Othello runs at the Phoenix Theatre at UVic through Nov. 23. Photo by Dean Kalyan

REVIEW: Shakespearean tragedy shines at the Phoenix

UVic theatre crew hits the right notes with Othello, writes Sheila Martindale

Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine reviewer

One of the reasons Shakespeare’s plays have survived the centuries is that human nature has not changed. People are still driven by insecurities and hate, by mistrust of anyone different from the norm; there is still resentment and greed; and love still has the power both to unite and to divide.

It is interesting to note that Othello has never been performed at the University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre before. It is worth the wait!

Director Brian Richmond has pulled this enormous cast together and made it run like clockwork. Those with speaking roles are word-perfect, and everyone is movement-perfect. The set, designed by Conor Farrell and Logan Swain, consists of huge archways and sets of stairs being moved around to form whatever venue is required. Brilliant! Of course the Dan George Theatre-in-the-round, with its many exits and entrances, provides a perfect space for free movement of both people and props.

Emily Friesen takes credit for the costumes, perfectly co-ordinated and appropriate to the era. Olivia Wheeler directs the musicians, whose outfits complement those of the actors, as they mix in on the stage, or appear discreetly at the side, playing wonderful Baroque music.

Tallas Munro is impressive in the title role, with a fabulous stage presence, and Ciaran Volke puts out a great performance as Iago. Georgia Duff brings a mixture of imperiousness and innocence to the difficult role of Desdemona. Una Rekic plays the male role of Cassio well, but appeared mis-cast.

Voice coach Michael Elliot has chosen to assign an accent to the servant class, an odd mixture of Scottish and Irish, which actually does little to help our understanding of the text. Here would be a good spot to mention Grace Fedorchuk, playing Emilia with dignity and compassion.

This is an ambitious production, proving again the wonderful value of UVic’s drama program. Over the years it has been a privilege to see the graduates moving onward and upward to appear with theatre companies here and elsewhere.

Othello is a long show – count on approximately three hours including the intermission – but it is one you will not want to miss. It runs at the Phoenix until Nov. 23. For tickets visit the Phoenix Theatre box office in person or call 250-721-8000 to charge by phone.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Live theatreUVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island dance classes billed as female empowerment tool

New Comox Valley business focuses on ‘promoting positive body image’

Duncan’s Big Stick lights up red to signal COVID’s devastation of the arts

“COVID-19 has been truly devastating to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre”

Chorus expands online options to in-person rehearsal in Langford, Oak Bay

Free, non-auditioned SingYourJoy recruits those aged 16 to 29

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bucket list: MId-Island set to come alive with special drumming

Pair of programs scheduled to take place starting October

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre streaming new short film tonight

Standing By has been created and performed by Cowichan-raised actor Nicole Ratjen.

Voting now ready for Oak Bay’s Arts Alive 2020 sculptures

Audio and written descriptions posted for all 10 sculptures

Snuneymuxw artist brings aquatic designs to Nanaimo’s Beban Park pool

Work by artist Eliot White-Hill is being installed at the pool this month

Nanaimo musician plays all instruments on DIY debut album

Jamie Penner releasing guitar-centric instrumental record ‘Out of Curiosity’

Hospice worker and patient butt heads in upcoming Nanaimo theatre production

Yellow Point Drama Group presents ‘Grace and Glorie’ at Cedar Community Hall

Most Read