Thursday, April 02, 2015


Isango Ensemble at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The Isango version of the Mysteries, like their Magic Flute, has been delighting audiences all over the world for years. They now add the Jacobean Sam Wanamaker to their raft of cultural references.
The two hour show is based on the Chester cycle – this selection includes all the highlights, though we do skip suddenly from Abraham to the Annunciation …
The trademark style sits well in this intimate space. The music – Gaudete as well as African and popular song – sounds superb.
The company, directed by the legendary Mark Dornford-May, has its origins in a township where poverty is endemic. But the upbeat sincerity of what they do – the expression of a simple faith, its inspiring stories told with a colourful seasoning of folksy fun – is a glorious theatrical experience, with no hint of depression or despair.
The text includes Latin and Greek, as well as Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans and English.
Noah's Flood is a highlight, with a makeshift Ark and Singin' In The Rain followed by You Are My Sunshine. Bethlehem is suggested by a single bale of straw. There is grandeur in the creation – an imposing [female] God and a red-leather clad [female] Lucifer. And a darker strength in the Massacre of the Innocents and the barbaric brutality of the Crucifixion.
It's a life-enhancing show, totally unique, and a welcome addition to the already eclectic offer in this magical performance space by the Thames.

No comments:

Post a Comment