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Othello, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

LENNY Henry does Dudley proud in the Northern Broadsides production of Othello.

LENNY Henry does Dudley proud in the Northern Broadsides production of Othello.

He received national praise in the play’s debut, and in his portrayal of the tragic Moorish hero, he deserves every word.

From his entrance as a confident, aloof general, whose very presence on stage demands all attention, to the final scenes of his despair as he realises he has shed innocent blood, Henry excels and visibly relishes his role.

Equal praise is also due to Conrad Nelson, who plays ‘honest’ Iago. A treacherous villain, dismayed at being passed over for promotion by Othello, he plots his dastardly revenge.

Iago really is a superb villain, he cleverly seduces all around him, turning them against each other. His intelligence is a stark opposite to the foolishness of the other characters and they are easily misled by him. He is driven, determined and devious; he leads the story to its self-destructive conclusion.

Along the way there is timely light relief in the form of an amusing drinking song turned game that Iago uses to get Cassio drunk.

However, come the final scene you were always under the impression it was not going to be a question of ‘Will anyone die?’ but ‘How many will die?’

Othello’s murder of his wife Desdemona is emotionally acted by Henry. The soft emotion better suited him than the anger that at other times Othello is drawn to.

As the actors bow at the end, Lenny is the last to leave the stage and laps up the applause, giving the audience a cheeky grin and a thumbs up.

 

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