It’s stormy outside. In here, tensions are simmering. As a touring swing band gather for their next performance, malevolent trickster Iago begins to sow the seeds of mistrust…

For their autumn 2019 UK tour the critically-acclaimed Pantaloons relocate Othello, Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of jealousy and deception, to a jazz-age setting, with live music, intense drama, and more than a hint of their own inimitable brand of theatrical mischief.

Indeed, while this most unsettling of plays might seem an unlikely one for the usually comic Pantaloons to perform, the company is keen to explore the effects of moving between laugh-out-loud comedy and intense tragedy, just as Shakespeare did himself.

Othello is a pressure-cooker of simmering tensions, and The Pantaloons have tried to turn up the heat. Intensely focused on a small number of central characters, this surprisingly modern play follows the twists and turns of their complex psychological journeys over a short period of time.

The Pantaloons’ choice of setting picks up on the play’s musical themes; Shakespeare’s Desdemona is already admired as a musician and singer, and two songs play key roles in the plot. They have also added several new songs, with lyrics based on fragments of Shakespeare’s text.

The Pantaloons are known for their anarchic retellings of classic works of literature having previously put a contemporary spin on Sense and Sensibility, The War of the Worlds, The Odyssey, Gulliver’s Travels, Sherlock Holmes, The Canterbury Tales, Grimm Fairy Tales, A Christmas Carol and many of Shakespeare’s plays.

The company began life over ten years ago as an open-air theatre company, busking plays for donations in parks and on the streets, where they developed an attention-grabbing, interactive and playful performance style.

The Pantaloons have picked up plenty of loyal followers and a lot of critical acclaim and have quickly become one of the country’s most prolific touring companies.