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    Performed for the first time at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, with its racing concentrated plot and intense dramatic detail, Othello is one of Shakespeare's most exciting, atmospheric and heartbreaking plays. This is a tale of uncontrollable jealousy, deception and murder driven by one of theatre's greatest villains. Starring Eamonn Walker and Tim McInnerny and performed at the Globe Theatre, this stage-bound production captures all the jealousy, deception and murder of William Shakespeare's classic play. Review ------ This DVD from Kultur captures a production at the historic Globe Theatre where all of Shakespeare's plays originated. Othello is presented in this version on simplistic terms without a set but with plenty of traditional period costuming. The Globe is an outdoor venue, and there is little lighting design required or able to be used. This is as primitive and elemental as you can get, without any of the flashy technical arts of the theatre to fall back on. The production hinges on the performances to keep an audience glued for over three hours. Luckily, the cast is up to the challenge of performing this well-known known tragedy, and that is the most compelling reason to sit down with Kultur's DVD edition, which presents a previously televised presentation. Eamonn Walker (Duma) has played the role of Othello a number of times, and his performance is fiery and competent. The actor brings dignity, grace, and the perfect energy to make you believe in the Moor's dilemma, which forces him into a murderous, jealous rage. Character actor Tim McInnerny (The Black Adder) makes Iago appropriately evil and maniacal. Zoe Tapper (The Last Van Helsing) is visually stunning as well as earnest as the doomed Desdemona. The actors make the verses move quickly, and they all have a nice intense energy that suits this staging. It's nice to see Othello performed without any gimmicks or stunt casting. Theatre fans and Shakespeare aficionados will be satisfied and pleased with this primal staging at a historic location. Anyone hoping for spectacle or reinvention won't find any of that in director Wilson Milam's traditional interpretation. You can see the audience reacting to the production thanks to the three-quarter thrust nature of the Globe's stage, and you feel as if you are in Stratford right along with the ticket buyers. Othello contains a strong cast performing a classic tragedy, and for those reasons, it's a fine DVD to connect with the Bard's work --DVD Verdict, Judge Brett Cullum Kultur is dedicated to bringing great performances of international opera, ballet, and theater to DVD and only a churl would ask them to ever cease doing just that. I will always remember with great affection the countless hours of pleasure they have given not only me, but so many of my friends and acquaintances as well. Anyone seeking a bit of culture in their living room as a relief from nothing but movies embraces Kultur's passion. If one doesn't hold a special place in his or her heart for this vast display of artistic achievement, then one should. --Harvey Perr, Stage and Cinema Recorded for television on 4 May 2007 at the live production from The Globe, this particular production of Othello translates well to its DVD format with crisp, warm color and camera angles that capture stage action and reaction along with appropriately timed close-ups. While Eamonn Walker's portrayal of Othello is mesmerizing, Tim McInnerny's Iago is the maliciously merry ringleader of the production's antics. Innerny s Iago impresses the point that the villain of the piece is as equally important to the play as its title character, a sharp contrast to Walker's Othello. Both actors take command of the stage when they re on it, complimenting one another's characterization greatly. Innerny (best known for his role in television s Black Adder) seems to relish Iago's interaction with the audience, casting sneering glances and smirking at those in attendance as he lets them in on his dastardly plots and schemes. He makes Shakespeare's soulless opportunist loathsomely likeable, particularly in his scenes manipulating the foolish Roderigo (Sam Crane, who plays the role with a foppish flair). When Iago tells Roderigo to 'put money in thy purse', his speech manages to combine comedy with a malicious underlying intent. Similarly, he's a hoot when mocking Cassio (Nick Barber)'s vaguely narcissistic mannerisms. Innerny's Iago revels in his remorselessness, making it clear to the audience that he sees nothing wrong with affecting the lives of others to twist the situation to his advantage. On the flipside, Eamonn Walker delivers no less of an outstanding performance as Othello. The Globe Theatre production of Othello isn't the first time Walker has stepped into the role, having played a modernized version of the character in an ITV1 film. Walker's Othello is both regal and physically imposing. The actor's raspy voice lends itself to the Moor's initially calm and eloquent manner, holding his ground with dignity, genuine emotion, and grace in the face of Brabantio (John Stahl)'s rage. Although it's a small part, Stahl's characterization of Desdemona's father is memorable. Transforming the character from its typical interpretation as a sad, old man into an outraged if not double-standard bearing racist father at odds with his daughter. Brabantio, and others, seem to lead the charge in the process of dehumanizing Othello, finding it hard to believe him capable of kindness. Walker's interaction as Othello with Zoë Tapper's stellar portrayal of a strong, yet sweet natured Desdemona as a pair of blissful newlyweds proves this otherwise, the actors showcasing believable tenderness in their scenes together. Milam's interpretation of Othello, although more than relevant to the unspoken racial tensions of the present day, manages to pull off an authentic replication of 16th century Venice and Cypress with costuming that while not terribly elaborate, is no less beautiful and true to the period. His direction makes use of the massive pillars of the Globe theatre's stage set up to punctuate the dialogue. A sparse catalogue of props: a table, two benches, one stool, and one bed adequately keeps the focus on the top notch acting of the cast. An effort of pure passion by the director and cast, during the readings, various quartos and folios were used to create this interpretation seen here. Each cast member enjoyed different readings and rallied to get theirs incorporated into the final interpretation seen here. --Pop-Matters.com
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