Wednesday, 7 August 2013

'A Season in the Congo' Young Vic ****

The Young Vic's production of Aimé Césaire's play 'A Season in the Congo' is a show to be seen this summer. The acting by Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumber was superb as he portrayed a character dealing with a dictatorship from the Belgian government with such sincerity that I found this to be highly emotive and poignant at points throughout the play. I thought that the work and performance by Kabongo Tshiense as Likembe Player was extraordinary as he spoke in the native Congolese language throughout the entire production which makes me understand how much time he has taken to fully embody this character to the highest quality possible. Absolutely wonderful to witness and his character exuded comedy throughout his performance.  I thought that the performances by all the company were superb and highly believable especially English actors portraying Congolese people.  In addition I found the use of puppetry to convey the government figures in a grotesque way was highly amusing as I was able to understand the playwrights political context that he was trying to convey even further. I liked this feature very much and the wonderful work by the company's Puppet Director Sarah Wright and beautifully crafted by Lyndie Wright, Julia Jeulin and Rebekah Wild. The directing by Joe Wright was out of this world as he ensured that he captured the essence of the Congolese way of life throughout the difficult decade and I think that his research trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was inspired. I liked how he worked with the unconventional Young Vic proscenium arch format and the design by Lizzie Clachan was very intriguing as I was sitting on an actual outdoor seat rather than a general theatre seat.  I liked the simplicity of the set but also the high edge detailing of the insight I received of how Congo was like during their struggle of freedom. Black Theatre has definitely found its place this summer in on and off West End theatre work.   

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