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Othello (New York Theatre Workshop)
East Village
87

Othello (New York Theatre Workshop) NYC Reviews and Tickets

87%
(114 Reviews)
Positive
95%
Mixed
4%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Ambitious

About the Show

Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo ('Selma') stars in the title role opposite Daniel Craig's Iago in Shakespeare’s tragedy, directed by Tony winner Sam Gold.

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Member Reviews (114)

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70
Overrated, Energetic, Long, Intense, Ugly set/costumes

See it if you can't get enough of WS. NYTW production is fine, but nothing special. See the superior Natl Theater Live version (modern/military).

Don't see it if you want the verse spoken well (only Craig and Oyelowo are strong). The first 20 minutes are tedious; awful pauses. Act II is stronger. Read more

75
Great acting, Great staging, Uneven

See it if you want to see some fine acting, particularly from the two leads as well as Matthew Maher and David Wilson Barnes.

Don't see it if you're not super into Shakespeare.

Critic Reviews (36)

December 12th, 2016

"Oyelowo and Craig enter the ranks of first-rate classical stage actors. I’ve never seen an 'Othello' as convincingly inexorable as this one...What’s so thrilling about this 'Othello' is that everything that occurs is so irrevocably inevitable...It’s a no-exit theater of war, invisibly stage-managed by a military underling with an instinct for human frailties...This incandescent production makes it possible for us to speak with rare understanding of this Othello—and this Iago—as they are."
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December 12th, 2016

"Gold knows when to increase the volume on his contemporary touches and when simply to trust the words. This isn’t a radical re-interpretation of 'Othello' so much as a fresh coat of paint and a strong, clear reading, never forgetting our present moment...The acting throughout is vivid, muscular and great on the ear. Craig and Oyelowo are superb together, and they give the language heft and fire...Oyelowo is the most physically imposing, emotionally stricken Othello in memory."
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December 12th, 2016

"Ripping good modern-dress production starring Oyelowo and Craig under Sam Gold’s masterly direction...Oyelowo easily wraps his mouth around Othello’s triple-crème verse yet makes a fully believable spectacle of the irrationality that nibbles away at all that beauty...And Craig, in his best NY stage outing to date, makes something disturbingly familiar out of his casually amoral Iago...This production brings us closer to the cold heart of sociopathy than anything outside of the nightly news."
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December 12th, 2016

"Sam Gold's tremendously exciting, sensationally well-acted modern-dress production...Both actors are fighting fit in roles they seem born to play, the subtlety as well as the terrifying intensity of their work magnified by the startling intimacy of watching them up close...The brilliant match of this production's Othello and Iago is fortified by the entire ensemble's muscular performance style and vigorous grasp of the language...This visceral production is not to be missed."
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December 12th, 2016

"David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig disappear utterly into their roles...With the Bard’s tricky verse mostly intact, it’s a testament to the cast’s efforts and abilities that its original intentions are telegraphed so well through gesture, inflection, and emotion...For all the rich performances and creative risk-taking onstage, it’s Oyelow’s Othello who ultimately holds the anguished heart and soul of the play in his hands...He imbues every line and gesture with timeless, luminous humanity."
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December 12th, 2016

"Oyelowo makes a fierce Othello, using his imposing physical presence and resonant voice to reduce this noble character to a more primal state...Craig takes advantage of his military surroundings to add another dimension to Iago’s character. He’s still the sly villain who takes abstract delight in the destruction of his victims...The female characters are the only ones not well-served in the production’s military environment."
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December 15th, 2016

"This production is more a good first try than a fully realized theatrical creation...Mr. Gold has given us yet another version of the same kind of the-time-is-now 'Othello' that I’ve seen in theaters all over the U.S...Mr. Craig's Iago is a pencil sketch rather than an oil painting, strong and forceful but devoid of poetic depth, much the same things that could be said about the production as a whole...Outside of Mr. Oyelowo, the best thing about this 'Othello' is its intimacy."
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December 12th, 2016

"David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig bring exceptional technical skill and at times riveting commitment...What’s missing in Craig's performance is the caustic burn of evil that drives Iago...What seems like a determined lack of connection with evil is not the only off-note of Gold’s production. It seems designed to disengage the audience at every turn...Oyelowo, however, builds in near-terrifying power to the play’s complicated climax."
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December 12th, 2016

"The good news is that the starry pairing is just as potent onstage as it is on the page of Shakespeare's tragedy of jealousy run amok. The two movie stars ably talk the talk...At times, however, the three-plus-hour production directed by Sam Gold doesn't do the actors favors...At times actors speak for extended stretches in complete darkness and at other times lit only by headlamps or a dim bulb...The concept comes off as gimmicky, not illuminating."
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December 12th, 2016

"An intriguing and intimate production...Craig takes a surprisingly casual and quiet approach to Iago, eschewing the showiness and signs of villainy that are associated with the role...Oyelowo, initially sharp and well-composed, eventually turns wounded and emotional as Othello...Some of Gold’s choices are questionable, but it’s well-executed overall...Would it have been so terrible to abridge the text by a half hour or so, especially since the audience is made to sit upon wooden benches?"
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December 16th, 2016

“Shakespeare at its most exhilarating. Director Sam Gold delivers a contemporary in-your-face rendering of the 400-year-old tragedy that feels thrillingly fresh and entirely relevant…Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo prove themselves phenomenal stage actors. For three-plus hours, they lead a first-class company in this devastating tale of love, jealousy and betrayal…This is a high-energy death spiral featuring some of the best-choreographed stage fighting I have ever seen."
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December 12th, 2016

"Gold's lethargic production never delivers...We leave the theater completely unfazed and emotionally untouched...At least Craig makes a memorably sociopathic Iago: He reaches out to each of us in his highly personal soliloquies, nearly winning us to his cause...Oyelowo seems to be in an entirely different production...No matter how loud he gets, our minds still wander, unable to focus on a performance that masks sloppiness in volume."
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December 23rd, 2016

"By any standard, this is an 'Othello' to treasure—original in conception and packed with savage emotions...Both actors handle Shakespeare's verse superbly, but Craig has the knack of making it seem like everyday speech, each new thought freshly arrived at...Even if you have seen 'Othello' many times, Oyelowo and Craig make the play seems surprisingly new...But this is a classic case of directorial overreach that constantly draws one's attention away from the drama at center stage."
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December 18th, 2016

"So compelling are the issues raised, and so effectively are they addressed, that the tiny missteps matter more than they ought to...As good as the staging is, it loses credibility in the final quarter...That it hardly matters is a testament to how much this company gets right in every other way...So powerful is the humanity on display here that even though Gold doesn't pretend to have the answers, you'll remain consumed by the questions he asks long after you leave the theater."
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December 21st, 2016

"This powerful, intimate, immediate and contemporary production in which the audience is never more than four rows from the action is a riveting experience of a play one might have seen many times before. While the production may be cool in the emotional department, the diction is such that every word registers and the muscular, testosterone-driven cast is always compelling."
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December 16th, 2016

"There’s no place to hide in Sam Gold’s mesmerizing production of 'Othello'…The thrill of Gold’s unconventional production lies in its theatrical rawness, providing a platform for the astonishing performances of the two leading actors…Craig morphs from a clever court jester into a merciless killer. It’s a cunning, charismatic performance. Equally charismatic is David Oyelowo…Rarely have I seen two actors share a stage with such generosity and support."
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December 13th, 2016

"Though Craig's Iago may have a slight edge in the first half, Oyelowo impressively captures the mix of brave warrior and innocent naive when it comes to his love life. By the time his General falls prey to the suspicions planted by his duplicitous second banana, this is definitely a two-star triumph...Under Gold's direction, the rest of the ensemble lends strong support...Whatever I found less than ideal before intermission turned completely compelling during the the play's big finale."
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December 12th, 2016

"Craig's a wonderfully engaging performance, worthy of the hype and the movie star excitement surrounding this production. The rest of the casting is fascinating and diverse, heaving with masculinity and intensity...In Gold’s creation, this 'Othello' powers through, as if on a military charge against the enemy. Its energy is exhilarating. The power lies in the snippets of humanity that weaves their way through."
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T
January 1st, 2017

"This creative team is spot-on in their collaborative efforts to bring to life Mr. Gold’s progressive rendering, but once this magnificent cast affords the words of this masterpiece, these efforts all but disappear as the emotional execution of the language erupts to consume all the senses...This production manages to involve the audience in the action, immerse them in the emotional content, and deliver the poetic language, while never conceding to phenomenalism."
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C
December 15th, 2016

"The chief pleasure of Sam Gold’s often bracing, sometimes strangely directed production is watching Daniel Craig hand in a career-defining performance as the malevolent, malicious Iago...Unfortunately, this inventive director too often makes odd, distracting staging choices...Fortunately, Gold trusts his main actors, especially Craig and Oyelowo, and Shakespeare’s text enough of the time that the production is mostly riveting."
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December 15th, 2016

"While this 'Othello' can be uncomfortable and even annoying, it is impossible for me to dismiss Sam Gold’s often startlingly effective production...Beneath Sam Gold’s attention-grabbing choices, in the last of its three hours, we are left with Shakespeare’s words performed by a first-rate cast...It’s natural to focus on the two movie stars, and they deserve the attention. But part of what makes the performances impressive is the way they blend in with the supporting cast."
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December 15th, 2016

"Daniel Craig is the highlight...The colorblind casting of Iago’s wife, Emilia (a wonderful Marsha Stephanie Blake) takes away from Othello’s uniqueness...Bianca doesn’t die in the original, so why have all the women murdered?...It seems since Ivo van Hove, it is OK to take away from what a playwright writes, his intent or his meaning, if he is dead and cannot fight back...I just find this so wrong and I stand up for the playwright."
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December 12th, 2016

"In Oyelowo’s emotive performance, which suggests Othello’s otherness with a slight African accent, there’s a vein of self-loathing that runs fast and wide within him...Oyelowo finds the most to do with the verse, rendering it clearly and lyrically. Most of the rest convey the sense of the language rather than enjoying it, but perhaps that’s what Gold wants...Still, he and his dramaturg, Michael Sexton, find accessibility and humor in the text and there are finely varied performances."
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December 13th, 2016

"Craig makes an altogether strong showing as the poison-tongued Iago…Oyelowo comes naturally to Othello...This worthy production is not likely to erase memories of 'Othellos' past; the contemporary slant has resonance with its references of current-day politics and current-day war zones, but the majesty of play and language is—inevitably—diminished. But it’s fair to say that the Craig-Oyelowo-Gold 'Othello' is something to see, and will not be soon forgotten."
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December 12th, 2016

"Gold has injected Othello and his soldiers with so much testosterone that the stolen handkerchief emerges as just one other reason to beat somebody’s head in. Schall’s direction of the fight scenes leave the audience gasping. It’s all very movie realistic, as are Oyelowo’s many epileptic fits, and he effectively performs the play’s second half as one long mad scene...As insightful as the staging often is, the female characters don’t always make sense in this man’s world."
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December 12th, 2016

"Inspired, blazingly muscular and visceral. It is also as raw and real as the unfinished wood on the walls...This is high-concept Shakespeare...But it is also high-intelligence and passionate. Unlike many Othellos, who get upstaged by the more theatrical Iago, Oyelowo is just as charismatic...In Iago's soliloquies...Craig's hearty voice hollows into rich, menacing beauty...Gold’s direction is a rowdy universe away from his sensitive touch in the Tony-winning 'Fun Home,' but just as authentic."
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December 12th, 2016

"Oyelowo is at his most transfixing when Othello is at his most broken. Craig twists and turns his way brilliantly through this production...The problem with choosing a contemporary setting but not leeching anything correspondingly modern from the Shakespeare’s text means that it stands there as a prop. The actors do all they can to weave in and around the mattresses and suitcases on the stage as animatedly as possible, but the show feels somewhat trapped and static."
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December 12th, 2016

"Gold’s conception, with its modernisms, is actually quite faithful in substance to the drama Shakespeare wrote...His staging is a vibrant effort to provide motivation and context for characters whose actions don’t always add up...Not everything he’s done in taking Shakespeare modern works equally well, but Gold has succeeded in providing a fresh, smart and imaginative look at an extremely well-known play."
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December 12th, 2016

"The overall effect is uneven, because ‘honest Iago’ needs to convey a semblance of plausibility in his interactions with Othello. Yet Craig is so continually shifty that you wouldn’t believe him if he told you his eyes were blue…Though he grows into the titular role...Oyelowo also fails to strike the right balance as he struggles to find his rhythm early on and doesn’t initially convey much heroic grandeur. His downfall thus arouses relatively little pity."
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December 19th, 2016

"If Gold sometimes makes odd choices in casting and setting, he has assembled an array of fine actors to rivet one’s attention...Despite minor smart flourishes, a modern-day military is a thoroughly integrated institution, so Othello’s isolation by his race loses persuasiveness...It’s not the only instance where credibility goes out the window...There’s a lot of questionable logic, but the performances override the bumps. It’s not an ideal 'Othello,' but it is one worth visiting."
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December 12th, 2016

"If some of Gold's choices are confounding or annoyingly coy, most of them prove striking, smart and surprising...The keystone here is the stupendous Craig, who plays Iago as an unmistakably Trump-era figure...Craig is matched beautifully by Oyelowo...These three-plus hours gallop along, and the marvelous intimacy of the space allows us to witness a pair of extraordinary actors at closer range than we'll likely ever see them again."
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December 16th, 2016

"In his intimate production of 'Othello,' director Sam Gold lures the audience in as co-conspirators to Daniel Craig's playful Iago...With Gold’s contemporary gloss, the underlying work bends but does not break. From scene-to-scene, dramatic lighting effects and concepts of physical space evolve but these choices complement the text and mostly maintain internal consistency...Gold brings out a buoyancy in Craig whose Iago springs with a dangerous joy."
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December 12th, 2016

"Craig's is a chilling performance, filled with cold hatred of Oyelowo’s tormented Othello, in an intense, nervy, outstanding production of Shakespeare’s tragedy...If Craig chills the blood, it’s Oyelowo who arouses the passions as he tries to wrestle free of the jealousy and doubt that Iago keeps stoking...Both men are big enough stars to be able to take their names to Broadway, but seeing them in such an intimate, immersive production is an unforgettable experience."
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December 24th, 2016

"Oyelowo is excellent as the title character, who takes Othello from a man of unbridled joy and confidence to one undone by his own deep-rooted insecurities...Craig is perfect as the quietly malevolent Iago...The production is also helped by the strong fight direction by Thomas Schall...'Othello' remains one of the more timely works of Shakespearean canon, with this particular production making its points powerfully, indeed."
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T
December 15th, 2016

"A new and deeply visceral take on 'Othello'...It stars two of the most powerful actors of our time: David Oyelowo as Shakespeare’s Moor and Daniel Craig as the evil, scheming Iago...Both actors prove themselves able Shakespeareans, nimble with the language and commanding in their portrayals...The combination of the modernity and the intimacy is to make the action current, to implicate us all in what’s going on on stage."
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December 24th, 2016

"Bringing Othello’s jealousy, and, ultimately, downfall to life, Oyelowo gives a performance of unrestrained passion...The architect of Othello’s destruction is played with a casual ease by Craig, who portrays masculine tension with precise cold calculation...Viewing the carnage onstage, with dead bodies grouped together, the timelessness of the play was inescapable. One hopes it doesn’t paint a picture of the future."
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