© Manuel Harlan
Always a fan of physical theatre company Frantic Assembly, I was delighted to see its Othello was on its way back. And the Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with the Curve theatre revised production did not disappoint.
The deserved rapturous applause from a mainly student audience is testament to Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett's adaptation and choreography.
The Bard's iconic tragic tale of scheming, sex and murder is brought bang up-to-date with hoodies, chavs and bottled lager as pool cues substitute the sword, and gang warfare is rife.
Set in a seedy Northern bar with pool table, plastic leather banquette and flashing fruit machine, nine actors populate the stage as plots and paranoia abound.
A convincing and somewhat noble Mark Ebulue leads the macho posturing with muscles rippling as the eponymous Moor manipulated by his jealous and devious henchman Iago (a nicely poisonous Steven Miller).
Caught in the web of intrigue are Cassio (Ryan Fletcher, whose drunken antics are a delight) and lovelorn bruiser Roderigo (Richard James-Neale) while Kirsty Oswald is spot-on as Desdemona – doting, sensual and increasingly bewildered.
Designer Laura Hopkins' eye for detail is tremendous – Desdemona and Emilia (Leila Crerar) locked in the grotty Ladies discussing the boys; testosterone-pumped, trackie-clad louts lusting after the lissom lasses; and more – while Graham's direction is pacy, athletic and vital.
With the pool table doubling as the marital bed and murder scene, wobbly walls that add dimension to the action, slo-mo moments emphasising the rapid slide to unavoidable destruction, and Hybrid's pounding rave soundtrack, this is a visceral, unmissable, uninterrupted 120 minutes.