This is a tough play to do well, and a seasoned audience well versed in Shakespeare can be a tough crowd. How does one make it fresh and memorable? Director Dean Paul Gibson had his work cut out for him.

Gibson hit the jackpot when he cast Bob Frazer as Othello's arc nemesis Iago. Frazer is awesomely evil and delivers a chilling performance. Frazer had the audience eating out of his hand, extracting gasps from members though obviously quite familiar with the play.

Gibson's luck held out when it came to casting the amazing Jennifer Lines (Emilia), Michael Blake (Othello), and Naomi Wright (Desdemona). Their performances are both believable and moving.

Here's where Gibson's luck runs out. Some of the other actors were perhaps more suited to another sort of production, their facial expressions and movement much too comedic for a piece as serious as Othello, adding an element of silliness that dissolved the dramatic impact of some of the scenes. Having said that, I don't believe this the fault of the actors, but an unfortunate oversight on the part of the director.

The set design, lighting, and sound, were all very effective and added the perfect finishing touches to the scenes.

All in all, I was very pleased with the play. I'd definitely attend next year, for as mentioned at the beginning, this is a very tough play to do well, and so much of it was exceptional.

www.bardonthebeach.com

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