Adelaide Fringe Review: Hello, The Hell: Othello is a darkly funny Korean play

Adelaide Arts Theatre is hosting the first ever Korean season for the Adelaide Fringe. AtoBiz and Global Cultural Exchange Committee have hand picked a small selection of physical theatre and music shows. The story Hello the Hell: Othello is a play by Creative Jakhwa, a young team that started with the meaning of “flowering a story.”

“Does Hell exist? What is the punishment in Hell? Would people repeat the same mistake if they were given another chance?” These are the questions examined in the play based on Shakespeare’s Othello. After Othello kills Desdemona, Othello and Iago are living endlessly in Hell together. Whenever you fall asleep, the nightmares begin. Every day the killing of Desdemona is re-lived until lago finds a way out of this Hell.

The set is simple, stark and minimalistic, yet manages to convey a breath of situations – a ship, a warm spring meadow, a cage. The lighting is superb, bringing the characters into focus when needed and changing the mood from happiness to tempestuous in a moment. The three players are strong performers, with very convincing mannerisms. Desdemona is like a delicate china doll one minute, but suddenly changes into a temptress because of Othello’s madness. Iago seems to be Othello’s best friend and confidante, but it is clear he has his own interests at heart.

The music and lighting together create a real situation where the madness reigns free. It is hard to know where the nightmare begins and ends. The physical absurdity plays a big part in the surrealistic nature of what we are seeing. There is a real sense of the passage of time in a literal never-ending hell.

The redemption is something that the Bard himself would have been proud of. There is a real sense of measured pace in the storytelling, not too fast or slow, with the subtitles on the screen simple and direct. It felt as though a vast poem was being unfolded before our eyes.

A truly satisfying and uplifting play despite the morbid premise, performed with love, precision and skill.


Hello the Hell: Othello is playing as part of the Adelaide Fringe at the Arts Theatre, Angus Street until 18th March – tickets here