While the “Othello” at the New York Theatre Workshop can be uncomfortable and even annoying, it is impossible for me to dismiss Sam Gold’s often startlingly effective production, even when David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig’s ultimately thrilling performances are initially in danger of being upstaged by the lighting and the seats.
Craig, a British actor best known as the most blunt and muscular in the James Bond franchise of films, is a blunt and muscular Iago. David Oyewolo, a British-Nigerian actor best known for his portray of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film Selma, is a staggeringly expressive Othello. Both actors, with long experience on the stage, are technically proficient — Oyewolo affects a slight African accent, for example, which seems a conscious choice to emphasize his outsider status. But there is a visceral connection here, with each other, and with the audience.