This 1989 RSC production of Othello
features a superlative, multi award-winning performance by the great Sir Ian McKellen as the dastardly Iago, alongside a rich and vivid portrayal of the eponymous hero by Jamaican operatic bass Willard White and a mould-breaking interpretation of Desdemona by director Trevor Nunns future wife, Imogen Stubbs. With far fewer characters than Shakespeares other tragedies and no subplots, Othello
has an unparalleled simplicity, which this version brilliantly captures. It is the story of the doomed love between Desdemona, a beautiful and fiercely loyal young Venetian woman and Othello, an ageing Moroccan mercenary. Unfortunately for the happy couple, erstwhile friend Iago harbours an irrational hatred and jealousy of the noble and brave Othello. Determined to destroy both Othellos relationship with Desdemona and indeed his very life, Iago begins a subtle campaign of vilification, which inevitably and inexorably leads to tragedy.
Nunns version, set on Cyprus during the nineteenth century, brilliantly uses light, costumes and cinematography to underline the plays themes of innocence, infidelity, ownership, manipulation and sexual jealousy. The result is a truly unforgettable production.
as near to perfect a piece of television drama as you can get" -- The Times
"Ian McKellen gives a mesmerizing performance" -- The Daily Telegraph