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A Man Of Good Hope

Published 14 October 2016

What’s it all about?

In the early hours of the morning, Jonny Steinberg, author of the book A Man Of Good Hope, meets Asad Abdullahi in Asad’s car in shantytown Cape Town, South Africa. Asad opts for this locale out of fear that the presence of a white man will attract unwanted attention from the locals but, reassured by Jonny, hesitantly begins to recall his extraordinary story as a refugee fleeing from war-torn Somalia, growing from boy to man to a backdrop of violence, prejudice and loss.

It’s a journey that takes Asad across the African continent from Somalia to South Africa, via Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and one which encompasses his life, love, family, education and displays of brilliant business acumen.

By parts uplifting and tragic, hilarious and heart-breaking, the story’s sheer dynamism is elevated by exuberant music, colourful dancing and evocative singing, in an extraordinarily involving, spiritually uplifting, and ultimately important, epic tale.

Who’s in it?

The acclaimed South African company Isango Ensemble return to The Young Vic, the site of their triumphant The Magic Flute, which scooped the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival in 2008.

The smiles which glean the faces of the large group are reflective of the sheer energy that emanates from the stage, while their tuneful melodies – be they vocal or played on drums, marimbas, or devised instruments – support the story throughout with beautiful precision.

In such a brilliantly conceived ensemble piece, it’s difficult to pick out individual performances, but Phielo Makitle, who played Asad as a boy on press night, had the audience in the palm of his young hand.

What should I look out for?

A unique amalgamation of operatic singing and beautiful harmonies with a powerful, epic story, the combination of which melts both ears and hearts.

A myriad of imaginative storytelling devices, from montage sequences to dynamic lighting, physical theatre to joyous dancing, props, floating doors, surprising entrances, improvised sound effects and inventive sets. In such an immersive production, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve embarked on Asad’s tumultuous journey with him, hitting home the importance of his story.

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In a nutshell?

With an excellent story, and extraordinary storytelling, A Man Of Good Hope will move, delight and inspire you in equal measure.

A Man Of Good Hope plays at The Young Vic until 12 November. To book tickets, please visit the venue’s website.

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