John Leguizamo presents The Q Brothers’ reinvention of Shakespeare's tragedy as a hip-hop musical. From the company behind the Off-Broadway hit 'Bomb-itty of Errors.' More…
'Othello' is spun out and lyrically rewritten over original beats in this high-energy spin on Shakespeare’s play, proving that the Bard himself was the original master of rhythm and rhyme. Commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Q Brothers’ add-RAP-tation won Best Lyrics and Best New Musical at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“Written, composed and directed by GQ and JQ, ‘Othello: The Remix’ is a funny, quick-paced modern retelling of the tragedy set in the world of rap stars, recording studios and the party scene. The rhymes come swiftly, showing off the intelligence of the two writers. They are able to both make fun of ‘Othello’ and the business they're in while still loving both to death. They take witty pot shots at other pop stars and the machinations of Shakespeare's convoluted plotline are all quite clever.” Full Review
"The rhythm hits hard and is brilliant in its presentation…They’re par excellence as rappers, movers and shakers as the pacing moves quickly via the brilliance of GQ and JQ, who composed and direct this hot little production…During this uniquely clever and modern adaptation, they find time to engage the audience in their antics...This is a Shakespeare lesson for all ages. The energy level is high and higher and you’ll laugh your way through this brand-new interpretation of the Bard." Full Review
"It takes on a powerful story and translates it brilliantly to hip hop terms...And it does it with a cast of just four astounding rapper/actors. A galvanising non-stop current of rhythmic beats and incisive rhyming jargon, the show is at times funny and ultimately gripping...Perhaps the ultimate strength of the show is how closely the four performers work together throughout its 80 minutes. It’s like watching a top-notch team score repeatedly on an athletic field." Full Review
"I was incredibly impressed by 'Othello: The Remix'...When I say impressed I do not only mean that I was inspired by this production, but I also felt taught by it...It is not every day that a take on this English masterpiece is fresh and enlightening upon the material. 'Othello: The Remix' shows not only the humor of this world-renown play, but also the darkness...I would highly recommend 'Othello: The Remix,' and hope everyone that can goes to see one of the best shows currently Off-Broadway." Full Review
"The tragedy of 'Othello' is told by a quintet of rap artists creating eight roles by using irresistible beats, fast-paced prose, and wildly inventive language blending rhyming couplets into humor-driven, tragic, touching and gripping theater for today’s younger generation. This is Shakespeare for the streets…The cast is jammin' and off the chain, the directors and writers GQ and JQ know their crib and inhabit it body, mind and soul." Full Review
"The Q Brothers have effectively and entertainingly transposed 'Othello's' story into modern rhyme…They've remained true to the narrative even though it all plays out in a fast-paced 80 minutes…The remix also means that plenty of comedy has been mixed into the storytelling...Gets most of its laughs from the split-second timing with which the cast switches roles...The title role is portrayed with verve and genuine emotional depth by Postell Pringle." Full Review
"Desdemona appears only as a pillow on a bed, and the other roles are taken by these four actors. The rapping incorporates enough of Shakespeare’s language to give the show a surprising heft and consistency, and the compression is at once hilarious and respectful. Most important, GQ’s Iago is more recognizable as an amoral force hellbent on destruction...The show is co-produced by John Leguizamo, and it’s rich." Full Review
"The show is written, composed and directed by the immensely talented brothers GQ & JQ playing several roles along with two other excellent actors...The lyrics are fanciful and quite clever...The ingenious lyrics are sung with such clarity that you appreciate every reference. The writers have made necessary changes that work perfectly...A wryly comedic romp with ferociously dedicated performances makes this 'Othello' overwhelmingly enjoyable." Full Review
"The show is created by the Q Brothers, meaning music, words and direction…Their ability to coalesce a tale and excite an audience is impressive. Everyone in this cast is not only supremely talented, but they seem as if they are having a blast and we lucky few get to watch and clap and groan at puns and just get happily awestruck. There is a wonderful harkening back to the original Shakespeare modality even though the words are magically modern." Full Review
"A fun and lively hip-hop retelling of Shakespeare's tragedy of racism and revenge...While 'Othello: The Remix' is certainly all in good fun, the two instances when the guys play female characters come off more as easy gags compared with the more fleshed out males. But the 80-minute romp is a high-energy kick, making a strong case for the elevated language rap to be a modern equivalent of Shakespeare's poetic verse." Full Review
"You might think that the technique applied to those Shakespearian comedies—full of clever updates and snarky rhymes—would underserve a great tragedy, but somehow it doesn’t; though full of laughs, this 'Othello' finds sufficient resonance in its new setting to merit the effort...Of course, this treatment can’t achieve the full pathos of the original verse; still, it is never less than inventive and even instructive in finding cognates for Shakespeare’s poetry." Full Review
"Clever and exuberantly performed...The music pulses with life, and the cascading rhymes of the lyrics are often inspired. My only qualm is that the rhythms vary so rarely that a certain monotony sets in…Still, diversions keep coming, even when the tragedy reaches its climax…'Othello: The Remix' will probably not reduce you to tears or leave you in stunned silence. But it’s a tickling refreshment to leave a production of this dark tale with a smile on your face." Full Review
"Introduces a new sound to a story of betrayal, greed, and revenge...The piece kept a high-octane, dizzying pace. The rhymes were fast. The music was pulsating. It was a concise reimagining of 'Othello' that is nicely structured. The company has a strong comedic approach...It could have gone further and been even tighter...Nevertheless, consistency was prevalent...If you can't get a ticket to 'Hamilton,' 'Othello: the Remix' is the next best option." Full Review
"They've converted the remaining dialogue into rap couplets, a lot of them quite clever…Purists will miss the Bard's language but others will probably get a kick out of this high-spirited production. And even in the midst of all the zaniness, Postell Pringle still manages to convey Othello's nobility and his folly." Full Review
"They lean into the comedic side of the tragedy throughout the show, and everyone looks like they’re having a blast. Their jubilation is infectious...Though some of the jokes are repetitive or go on a bit too long, the play’s quick run time keeps this from becoming a real issue. What’s slightly more concerning is Desdemona...She’s just a disembodied vocal solo piped through the speakers...Quibbles aside, 'Othello: The Remix' is a thoroughly entertaining way to spend an evening." Full Review
"The songs are of mixed quality, with a couple of showstoppers, but no real bad tunes. The choreography is not taken very seriously, but it is played more for laughs...The acting and rapping are more than up to the project. I was particularly pleased with Gregory James Qaiyum (aka GQ) as Iago...The main merit in this production is the way it is likely to attract a new generation to the theatre, and more specifically to Shakespeare." Full Review
"While there are a few questionable production choices, the massive amount of creative energy and impressive talent on display in 'Othello: The Remix' make it hard to resist...While 'The Remix’s' moments of lowbrow humor obscure some of the textual beauty of the original, it is a worthy trade-off in the end…Overall 'Othello: The Remix' is worth seeing for its cast’s verbal and physical dexterity and its smattering of guilty pleasure gags." Full Review
"The Q Brothers have transformed the bloody tragedy into a rip-roaring, rapped one-act rich with dizzying rhymes...The quartet plays all the characters, tackling quick changes as deftly as tongue-twisting text against DJ Supernova’s slick beats. Yet only Pringle attempts to find the gravitas in the tale...The show is clever and exhilarating, but also a missed opportunity—as if the creators were looking at the green-eyed monster through rose-colored glasses." Full Review
"‘Othello: The Remix’ does indeed cleverly play with language in a way that would make Shakespeare smile. However, underneath the broad comedy and visual gags, the show lacks a certain depth. Taken as a light-hearted romp, it is entertaining and engaging. However, don’t expect it to leave you with a fresh perspective…All the characters save Othello, Iago, and Cassio are essentially one-dimensional punch-lines; they draw laughs, but lose the human complexity." Full Review
"'The Remix' certainly works as a fast-paced rap concert, with dramatic lighting and a fine DJ spinning while four delightful performers spit out witty couplets and execute synchronized choreography...It is the Q Brothers' first foray into Shakespearean tragedy. And therein lies the rub...The weirdest choice is to cast Desdemona as a disembodied voice...It’s choices like this that rob us of the full force of Othello’s wrongful actions, and the full horror in his realization of what he’s done." Full Review
"The four men barely take a breather while moving about and gesticulating in the now time-honored rapper manner, but something does nag about the modernizing. There’s the distinct feeling that those involved want current audiences to appreciate Shakespeare but are concerned that his language has grown to be off-putting. It hasn’t, and at no point does the replacement verse reach the supernal level of the real thing." Full Review
"If the authors' intricately rhymed verse is slickly effective in conveying the whirlwind pace of intrigue, the authors can't do much to invest action with much meaning…We never see Desdemona at all...Without seeing Othello together with the woman he loves, we can't appreciate what he loses when his faith in her is shattered…What finally cancels out the possibility of true emotional engagement is the sheer relentlessness of the verse." Full Review
for a previous production "A delirious delight…The Q brothers update but never trivialize the master’s universal grasp of characters in conflict…Marvels of supple, split-second timing and gangbanging hubris, the bouncing, bubbly dialogue is as infectious as repetitious…Nothing’s lost in this deft translation or delirious presentation...The insistent percussive dynamism of the script propels the unstoppable tragedy as much as any incidents. However long the run, this 'remix' can never run long enough." Full Review
for a previous production "Strangely sanitized…By removing Desdemona as a character seen onstage, her murder is devoid of any real emotional impact…'Othello: The Remix' is a very entertaining 90 minutes, full of devilishly clever couplets set to catchy beats...But JQ and GQ's adaptation removes the heart of Othello's tragedy. While their choices doubtless make 'Othello: The Remix' more palatable for high school field trips, it leaves us left wondering why 'Othello' was chosen for their first dramatic foray." Full Review
See it if Absolutely brilliant. I have been a fan of the writers since their Bombity days and this show exceeded my expectations. Excellent show!!!!
Don't see it if You don't like hip hop or a modern take on a classic. But you;d be wrong!!
See it if you like music, poetry, hip hop, inventive work derived from Shakespeare or classic texts. Great for HS kids, spouses, friends, grandma!
Don't see it if you really hate hip hop, but honestly, this is so clever it might make you fan.
See it if You want to see a very funny hip-hop version of Othello with great acting, dancing, rapping,with great music, that was so enjoyable
Don't see it if You don't like rapping,but even then it's still a great show for anyone
See it if know Shakespeare's OTHELLO. Some of the plot flies by (in this 80 min version). If you want to support hip-hop theater (other than HAMILTON)
Don't see it if don't like hip-hop. It's charm'll be lost on haters.
See it if you like fresh takes on Shakespearean classics, hip-hop, creative storytelling, making awesome comedy from bloody tragedy
Don't see it if you're a Shakespeare purist, dislike hip-hop, prefer more traditional productions
See it if Rap has never been put to such great use! Clever rhymes, powerful beats, great comedy, fun choreography, dramatic staging. Pure fun!
Don't see it if You have never been able to catch the lyrics in swiftly-delivered rap - this show is fast-paced and it's on you to "keep up"!
See it if You like po-mo mashups that work...and cheering on fabulously talented unknowns bringing Shakespeare raw and upclose
Don't see it if you're really wanting to see a 3.5 hr dissection of human nature (that's the other Othello that's running--see my review on that one too)
See it if you want to see Shakespeare in a way that you would never expect. Original, funny and moving. Definitely a great intro for kids.
Don't see it if you absolutely hate hip hop and are a Shakespeare purist.
See it if You're prepared to see Shakespeare in a different light, including hip-hop, quick costume changes, parody and wonderful performances.
Don't see it if you're a stickler for tradition.
See it if A show done in a way never done before by a talented, versatile cast who rap, sing and dance. Awesome retelling of a classic.
Don't see it if You detest any type of rap, or will only see Othello as presented by countless others.
See it if These guys can rock! Excellent spirit of the play-& funny. Quick paced rapping keeps it moving. Story is fly rapper-not moor-but holds well~
Don't see it if If ur looking for a faithful-to-the-story upon which it's based, rap version, ull be disappointed. Obviously if raps not your thing, avoid~
See it if things that rhyme are a good time this show will be sublime. The rap’s progressive but not aggressive the words are as clear as Shakespeare
Don't see it if an hour and a half of rhyme will cause your decline. The guys are talented and fun but all that rhythm might make you want to run.
See it if you would like to see a well-known classic in a new and interesting light, the magic of hip-hop
Don't see it if if you are a snob, hate hip-hop or don't like plays that cross genres
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies