The annual USQ student Shakespeare play, this year of iOthello, is a premier league production. The series, which was begun in 2004 as part of USQ’s Shakespeare in the Park Festival, has moved indoors to the university’s compact arts theatre.
The nearness of the stage and the actors serves to intensify the experience of what is known as Shakespeare’s greatest psychological drama. It is directed by Scott Alderdice, who was a co-founder of the Shakespeare in the Park concept. The play is a personal triumph for Courtney Wagner in her role as the heinous villain Iago.
Right from time she mingled with the audience before the lights went down, Courtney had playgoers absolutely enraptured. Exceptionally for someone so young, she is able to portray a humorous side, with Roderigo played by James Hammond, as well as Iago’s manipulative abilities and evilness when murdering his wife Emilia in most convincing style.
Madelaine Armit was authorative and strong in the title role of the play, which is set in a virtual world dominated by social media and the shifting layered fields of e-reality. Hammond also demonstrated that he has a bright future as the dissolute Venetian lusting after Othello’s wife Desdemona, played delightfully by Sarah Hatcher.
During a drunken scene Michael Cassio, played by Campbell Lindsay, had spectators in fits of laughter with his bodily gymnastics. In keeping with the standard achieved by the actors, the set design, the lighting, the costumes and the sound were of a high quality. It all added up to another triumph for Scott Alderdice.
Suzie Byrnes, Caitlin Eastan and Sonia O'Dea
Amy Linney and Stacey Hixon
Campbell Lindsay and Dr Daryl Chalk
Helen Partridge, Robert Keanalley and Rebecca Scollen.
Janet McDonald and Bryce Barker
Katrina Watts, Kristy Hayes, Tayla Arthur and Lisa Machin.
Sheena Liley, Janelle Davis and Carol Cox.
Words by Graeme Kelly
Images by Donald Hildred