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A Season In The Congo


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#11 xanderl

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 05:17 PM

Can't remember the price but as pn2 says  worth getting for the background info
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#12 Nicholas

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:32 PM

I might say some negative things and they'd be founded, so let me pre-empt this by saying I gave this only the second standing ovation I've given in 2013 (the other one was also at the Young Vic).  I agree about the play - I rarely buy programmes anyway but I wanted to see if knowing as little as I did the history made sense.  It did, but I wish a ) the beginning gave more info as within 5 minutes Lumumba had gone from selling beer to Prime Minister and b ) someone had added a Henry V style epilogue about the situation now (but I'll come to that).  On the one hand I think this is a character study first which is why the early history's a bit scant but being as steeped in the history as this was it needed a bit more.  As a character study I had no issue and as a historical piece I found it educational.  So mostly thumbs up with that regards.

Chiwitel Ejiofer is great.  It’s really not an easy part – to say nothing of the difficulty of playing a real person, it’s hugely physical, requires very difficult speechifying and he’s barely offstage.  At the beginning there’s the genuine sense that though he’s a beer salesman I’d vote for him, in the middle there’s the genuine sense that he’s sure of what he’s doing despite everything and in the end there’s the genuine sense that perhaps he’s wrong but the conviction’s still there.  Plus he actually looks like him.  The entire cast plays second fiddle, of course, but rather decent second fiddle.  Please don't leave the stage for 6 years again, if you're reading this.

Joe Wright likes set pieces, he likes to approach texts from a different angle and he likes to throw a lot at the screen or in this case stage.  I'm a big fan of his work in films because of his leftfield approaches.  It's why I wanted to like Trelawny.  Here he fills the stage wonderfully and often with the unexpected.  I forgave Trelawny because I'm a big fan of his films but no need to forgive this - everything he threw at it stuck.  In Trelawny he didn't even throw that much at it.  As I say, I gave this a standing ovation and that's almost primarily because Chiwitel Ejiofer's brilliant and Joe Wright got to grips with a flawed play and made it such a striking thing - a sensitive character piece when needsbe and a polemic too, with a comprehensible if reductionist history lesson in there too.

#13 Nicholas

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:35 PM

Also, the performance I went to was a charity performance, and in the middle of a near unanimous standing ovation Ejiofer stood forwards and hushed everyone to tell us more.  Apparently £10,000 had been raised from ticket sales for Oxfam for the Congo, and David Lan stepped forwards to tell us that the idea of a charity performance was Ejiofer’s idea and had been something he’d wanted since the start.  He described the experience of going to the Congo very personally.  The ending of the play is something that leads directly to conflict now, 50 years on, and just to hear those facts bluntly put is truly startling.  The pair were very moved and Lan highlighted Wright’s comment that the least we can do is know what happened.  This is clearly something very important for both of them and I must say if I were to be entirely objective I thought all involved did a good job of looking at a fraught historical time and a decent character with positivity but not hagiography, thus the ovation (which was mainly because Ejiofer's wonderful (and also bound to get an Oscar nod next year as well as probably Olivier nod) and Wright proved good).  Because I saw how much it meant to them it's hard to be quite as objective but that just makes my view even more positive.

#14 Latecomer

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:52 PM

View Posttheatrejunkie, on 14 July 2013 - 10:06 AM, said:

At Loopy I would suggest N 35-40 if wiling to pay full whack or M 35-40 if yo want discount.Similar views just that N is raked and M isnt

You are in the swimming pool area and you see everythin.Table L is going for £10 which is ok except for the fact that its a little restricted for the action that happens at the very top. I sat there yesterday and that restirction annoyed me as I wasn told prior to booking

I actually sat in M and N post show to decide where to sit for next time so I think you wont be dissapointed if you choose those seats.

Many thanks for recommendation....sat in row M and was superb!

Enjoyed the play. Agreed the soothsayer was very annoying...could have cut her a bit and still got the idea. Chiwetel great and he was very emotional at the end for curtain call. Found the play engrossing and enjoyed very theatrical treatment....from talking heads to dancing, singing, puppet vultures and small parachutists descending from the heavens ....
Very long queue for returns as near the end of the run....20 odd? And already that again when we came out at 5pm, waiting for evening performance.
Play enjoyment increased as I was sitting next to woman who works regularly in Congo as a midwife with the church and had travelled from Birmingham to see it  - she filled me in with current politics and how it is to live there now.
Muddled, messy, full of heart, glad I saw it.

#15 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 08:06 PM

View PostLatecomer, on 21 August 2013 - 07:52 PM, said:

Agreed the soothsayer was very annoying...could have cut her a bit and still got the idea.

This was of great debate in my party. I was almost certain the soothsayer was a man, but the two folks I was with thought it was a woman! I checked the programme afterwards and it was, indeed, a man!!



#16 Latecomer

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 08:25 PM

View PostPharaoh, on 21 August 2013 - 08:06 PM, said:



This was of great debate in my party. I was almost certain the soothsayer was a man, but the two folks I was with thought it was a woman! I checked the programme afterwards and it was, indeed, a man!!

Nooooo! I am amazed!




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