Ian Mckellon's Iago

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

Okay, I have heard Cathering England talking about Branagh's finest performance being Iago in Oliver Parker's film. However, I recently saw the 3 1/2 hour televised version of Trevor Nunn's 1988 (? - there about's I think) production of Othello for the RSC. I can say with my hand on heart that I have NEVER seen acting touching the hights of Ian Mckellon as Iago. This truly was acting on the grandest of scales - dangerous, exciting and wonderfuly creative. Zoe Wannamaker was playing Emilia, and gave a wonderfully realized, truthful, understandable and definitive performance there. Imogene Stubbs )have I spelt that right) played a Desdemona almost as great. But the show belonged to Sir Ian as Iago. Trust me, folks. Try and get this one on Ebay. Ian Mckellon simply cannot be touched.

The only other performance I have seen almost as good was Anthony Sher in the 1998/99 (?) televised RSC production of Macbeth. Partnered alongside the amazing (and I mean AMAZING) Harriet Walter as Lady Macbeth, suddenly in Macbeth I saw the idea of murder, the act of it and it's consequences more horrible and utterly disturbing than any film I have ever seen. And I have seen some films that have upset me totally such as Michael Haneke's 'Funny Games' for example, but suddenly I realised that Shakespeare understood all this, the sheer act of horror, the living nightmare of it all, and had written it all down in his play. It just took this amount of time for someone to unlock it and bring it to life.

-- Patrick Walker (criesandwhispers666@yahoo.com), March 04, 2003

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