Othello (Postell Pringle) is the lead in a rap group that includes backup singer Iago (GQ), techie Roderigo (JQ) and the other backup, Cassio (Jackson Doran). There is also a DJ (DJ Supernova) who acts as an MC, opening the show with enthusiasm.
In this smart, clever version of the story, Iago, slightly uptight longtime member of Othello’s crew believes that he is not appreciated when newcomer Cassio, a much happier rapper who just enjoys performing gets more notice from Othello. As in the original, Iago plots Othello’s downfall by making him jealous, hinting that Cassio was romancing Desdemona, Othello’s love. Roderigo, the nerdy techie, with a lisp and a heavy heart, also yearns unrequitedly for Desdemona.
The distaff characters, Emilia (Iago’s abused wife) and Bianca (Cassio’s silly groupie) are played, respectively, by Mr. Doran and JQ who don the hilarious, colorful costumes of Christina Leinicke which are little more than aprons that hang from their necks, but do the job smartly. Also in the play are the record studio head/tennis aficionado Loco Vito played by a similarly transformed JQ who makes this bizarre Latino thug a study in power and ridiculousness.
The final character, Desdemona’s father Brabantio, as played by GQ is a stuffy guy who doesn’t trust Othello, with, as it turns out, good reason. (Desdemona never appears except as a pretty disembodied voice.)
The set designed by Scott Adam Davis, changes from recording studio to green rooms to posh apartments with ease. Similarly, the sound design of David Ferdinand/One Dream and the glitzy lighting by Keith A. Truax help define where the action is taking place.
Remix moves at warp speed sometimes making the lyrics difficult to absorb, but these guys throw themselves with glee into the play taking the audience along with them.
Othello: The Remix (through January 15, 2017)
Westside Theatre, 407 West 43rd Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit http://www.Telecharge.com
Running time: 80 minutes, no intermission