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Wednesday ,Nov 23rd 2011

a performance of x
Vienna’s English Theatre
in Congress Innsbruck

Pitching in with Rhythmic Verve…

Vienna’s English Theatre’s production of Pitch Black is enthralling. With telling rhythmic changes (up-tempo dramatic events with lyrical interludes), this is a vibrant production.
Based on Shakespeare’s Othello, the play is cleverly set today, focussing on the fortunes of England’s national football team. With Donatello Moor as a the newly appointed England manager (half-Italian and black), with a forthcoming European game against Turkey, the team undergoes an upheaval: the experienced Jago, former team-mate of Donatello at Man United, is overlooked as captain in favour of young Michael Cassio. This spells trouble. To get his own back on Moor, Jago starts plotting to undermine him. The pitch is prepared for a revenge tragedy.

Jago plants the seeds of jealousy in Moor: newly married to Mona, an up and coming star of the catwalks, almost half his age – and white, Moor is seditiously  persuaded by Jago that Mona is already unfaithful  to him. The tragedy runs its course….

Jago -  friendly (on the surface), insinuating, ingratiating – has a field day. Moor oscillates between a noble presence and animal outbursts. Mona is no naive bimbo – she ‘could be a diplomat, or a politician’. Sadly, she is not ‘one step ahead’; in fact, she loses out big time. Cassio is the stooge, who realizes all too late…

This production is slick, elegant and nicely stylized: the dancing in the night club, the action replays of the head-butt incident in the Turkey game, with the referee’s well-held  freeze-frame effect (echoes of Zidane on Materazzi?). It’s played with rhythmic verve, significant pauses and subtle poise.

This vibrant performance was followed by a 45-minute question-and-answer session with the actors still on stage. Enthralling stuff!

Well worth seeing!
Andrew Milne-Skinner, Nov 23 2011

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