A Season in the Congo

Drama

Off-West End

Young Vic

Until Sat Aug 24 2013

  • © Johan Persson

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba)

  • © Johan Persson

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba)

  • © Johan Persson

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba) and Joan Iyiola (Pauline Lumumba)

  • © Johan Persson

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba) and Daniel Kaluuya (Joseph Mobutu)

  • © Johan Persson

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba)

  • © Johan Persson

    Kurt Egyiawan, Brian Bovell (Bakongo Tribesman), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba), Joseph Mydell, Ira Mandela Siobhan, Nandi Bhebhe and Oliver Tida (Batetela Tribesman)

  • © Johan Persson

    Puppets

  • © Johan Persson

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba) and Daniel Kaluuya (Joseph Mobutu)

© Johan Persson

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Patrice Lumumba)

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
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LiveReviews|5
1 person listening
Christine Gaylarde

Pay no attention to those paltry persons who decry the author. This is an outstanding production with an outstanding cast. I felt my heart dancing with the actors in the opening scene and at Independence. I had tears in my eyes when Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Lumumba, proclaimed his love and wishes for the new "State" of Congo. I laughed at the rhyming puppets, while shivering at their message. I marveled at the acting, dancing, costumes and the set. The emotions this production caused are still riding high. And it made me think, which is the most important thing of all.

Catherine Hoskyns

The clever thing about this production is that the apparent gimmickry - puppets, wigs, masks, nose shields, miniature parachutists and refugees - far from destroying the power of this truly terrible story actually reinforces it by revealing the reality at its core. Part of the reason for this is the authenticity of the grassroots Congolese bar and street culture, expressed in music and dance, which convincingly portrays a milieu which understood Lumumba and from which he sprang. The essence of this is expressed in the chorus figure - a man though he looks like an elderly woman - who comments in gnomic terms as the events unfold. He speaks a regional Congolese language (Tshiluba) and the essence of what he says is casualty expressed in English by whichever actor happens to be passing. Lumumba's 'fault' was that he claimed the Congo's riches for the people and tried to mobilise the Congolese to demand a real independence (uhuru) rather than a compromised sovereignty (dipenda). He couldn't be bought off so he had to be killed.. The audience at the preview performance I attended was young and diverse, testifying to the ongoing resonance of the Lumumba story. Africa's continuing lack of control over its own resources and the ruthless removal or corruption of anyone who opposes this or suggests a different way, is a story as relevant today as it was in the sixties.

mal

Absolutely outstanding show. We wouldn't be in Africa, if we did not having music and dance. The whole drama is mesmerizing for the way it puts together the scenery, suspense, music and dance to make it even better than most shows telling the story of prominant Africans. Run and get your tickets by whatever means necessary. Witness drama at its best.

Stephen Budd

This is an extraordinary melange of music and high drama, staged beautifully and mixing music, dance, drama and puppetry to bring alive this most turbulent period of modern African history. I cannot imagine being more satisfied than i was when I exited. Chiwetel Ejiofor is staggering in the lead role set in the courtyard of a Conglose nightclub, so real looking I had to blink hard to remind myself I wasnt in Kinshasa. If you are interested in Africa, you cannot afford to miss this. The Music, both played live and with tunes recorded in Kinshasa by Damon Albarn for his DRC Music project is also a highlight.