PICK OF THE WEEK

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - Cor­mac Larkin Grand So­cial, Dublin ¤10 8pm the­grand­so­cial.ie LM Peter Craw­ley

Bassist Gary Pea­cock is many things: an in­no­va­tor on his in­stru­ment, a key fig­ure in the US avant-garde, and a col­lab­o­ra­tor with such gi­ants of the piano as Bill Evans and Paul Bley. But he is best known as one third of the peer­less Keith Jar­rett trio. Pea­cock’s own trio, with Marc Co­p­land on piano and Joey Baron on drums, is no sec­ond fid­dle. An in­ti­mate, up-close way to ex­pe­ri­ence a mas­ter at work. ROCK Pretty Beast Fresh off a stint film­ing in Las Ve­gas for the video for their new sin­gle Afraid to Re­mem­ber, Dublin four piece Pretty Beast head­line a bill, with sup­port from This Other King­dom and Farah Elle.

Marty Rea and Peter Ma­con in Othello, at the Abbey Theatre

OTHELLO What, or who, has got­ten into Othello’s head?

The poster for the Abbey’s lat­est Shake­speare pro­duc­tion may not be telling us any­thing we don’t al­ready know, but it does find an ar­rest­ing way to tell it: the face of Peter Ma­con’s Moor­ish gen­eral is ripped away to re­veal the sin­is­ter eye of Marty Rea’s Iago, his de­monic en­sign, who stokes and even stage-man­ages his jeal­ousy. Find­ing new ways to tell old sto­ries may be a nec­es­sary con­di­tion of theatre, but Othello in par­tic­u­lar de­mands care­ful re-eval­u­a­tion.

A noble soldier who elopes with a pas­sion­ate Des­de­mona, he is ex­oti­cised, scru­ti­nised and un­der­mined be­cause of his colour, and driven to de­gen­er­ate into unchecked rage. That can make it hard to dis­tin­guish be­tween racist char­ac­ters and a play with a racist con­ceit. (It doesn’t make it eas­ier that the play has a long his­tory of black­face in­ter­pre­ta­tions – some­thing the ac­tor Si­mon Cal­low re­cently chose to de­fend.)

But the play shows some- thing an­grier and sad­der; how both racist and misog­y­nis­tic views are in­ter­nalised. Jeal­ousy may be the green-eyed mon­ster, but when even Othello, alone in a white world, speaks of “black­ness” in cor­ro­sive terms, it’s more than Iago’s machi­na­tions that have got­ten into his head.

Not ev­ery­thing in the play is black and white. Co­in­ci­den­tally, the Abbey has no his­tory with Othello – di­rected by Joe Dowl­ing, this will be the Na­tional Theatre’s first pro­duc­tion of the play – which it is pre­sent­ing as “a con­tem­po­rary thriller”. That usu­ally means “Shake­speare with guns”, but hope­fully not. This play is ex­plo­sive enough al­ready.

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