Fringe Binge #7: The Tragedy of Othella Moore

Sunday, 24 July 2016
Playwright: Esther Huh
Director: Jennifer Walton
Cast: Allison Edwards-Crewe, Laura Ellis, Nick Kozij, David Brennan, Annalee Flint, Krista McNaughton
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence
Show Type: Comedy, Drama
Audience: General
Running Time: 75 minutes

Everything about The Tragedy of Othella Moore is ambitious, from its 75-minute run time, six-person cast (unique for a Fringe play), and a script billed as Mean Girls meets Shakespeare. There’s no doubt that this gender-flipped adaptation of Othello featuring high-school cheerleaders is unlike any version of Shakespeare you’ve seen before.

The Tragedy of Othella Moore is the story of Amy, a bored cheerleader with a knack for creating drama. The target of her manipulation is Othella, the new cheer captain whose “hottie” boyfriend, Des, is the most popular guy in school. The cast also includes “the super basic neighbour girl Riley,” Amy’s “bestie” Cassie, and her sluggish, doltish boyfriend, Emmett, played by local comedian David Brennan, who steals the show.

Set to a soundtrack of pop songs from Omi to Taylor Swift, The Tragedy of Othella Moore is current, using social media and GIFs on a large screen to provide extra comic relief. The polished script by playwright Esther Huh is wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, using over-the-top stereotypes to perfection, from the beer guzzling, backwards hat wearing “bros” and boy-crazy cheerleaders downing peach schnapps.

“Know thy frenemy” is just one piece of advice Amy gives in The Tragedy of Othella Moore, but as anyone who has read or seen an adaptation of Othello can imagine, this is not a play that doles out good advice. It is, however, a hilarious romp featuring memorable characters and quick one-liners that had the crowd laughing from beginning to end.

The Tragedy of Othella Moore has become a fast favourite at the Hamilton Fringe Festival, and I won’t be surprised if we see it given the Hamilton Fringe Critics' Choice Award.

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