Stars must align before Othello can go west

By BAZ BAMIGBOYE

Last updated at 10:19 07 December 2007


West End theatre owners are pressuring Michael Grandage to move his outstanding production of Othello into a larger theatre once it has completed its run at the Donmar Warehouse in February.

However, such a move depends on whether or not the actors in the three main roles - Chiwetel Ejiofor's magnificent Moor, Ewan McGregor's pernicious Iago and Kelly Reilly's heartbreaking Desdemona - are able to switch other commitments.

Also, I suspect that Grandage, the Donmar's artistic director, would want to keep his entire 12-strong ensemble together. All of them are vital to the play's success. (I particularly enjoyed the powerful performances from Michelle Fairley's maid Emilia and Tom Hiddleston's noble Cassio.)

Two of Cameron Mackintosh's top executives have seen Othello and want to move it to one of the theatres controlled by the Delfont-Mackintosh group. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Group has also sent representatives to see it, as has the ATG theatre empire.

One executive said, with a sigh, that it would be wonderful if the play could be transplanted 'right now, in the dead of night' to a larger theatre. I know what he means - but it's a pipedream.

You can't move a play mid-way through its run, sadly.

The production is a triumph for the Donmar. As one who has followed the development of the three main leads closely, it was exciting to see them at the top of their game (despite what the man from the Daily Telegraph, who clearly hated it, may have written).

Mr Ejiofor was in Grandage's first play, The Vortex, when the director took over the running of the Donmar from Sam Mendes five years ago.

This Othello represents an extraordinary artistic leap for both men.

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