‘Reverential and celebratory’ homage to a legend: Mandela The Musical review | Theatre | Entertainment


Alas, it is also rather dull. The story of Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid in South Africa, his 27-year imprisonment and his final release and triumph is told in a flatly conventional manner, enlivened by Gregory Maqoma’s choreography if not the songs which are efficient without being memorable.

The performances are superb, however, with Michael Luwoye’s Mandela and Danielle Fiamanya’s Winnie Mandela outstanding.

Luwoye captures Mandela’s singular diction and retains a human dignity without sanctifying the man.

Fiamanya is luckier as Winnie has a more dramatic arc; resembling a Modigliani madonna in her youth, she progresses to the militant activist of her later years.

The conflict between her husband’s Ghandi-like serenity and her own late-flowering militancy provides one of the very few moments of actual drama.

Nice work, too, from Posi Morakinyo as Mandela’s tragic son Thembi and Stewart Clarke as the prison warden who eventually sees the evils of apartheid.

My abiding memory is of the voices of the committed ensemble raised in anthemic chorale, producing a sound that stirs the heart.

  • Mandela The Musical, The Young Vic until February 4 2023, Tickets: 020 7922 2922



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