facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

Many theatre makers have not been able to work since last March - your support could be a lifeline for those in need now.

A Season In The Congo

First Published 17 July 2013, Last Updated 17 July 2013

There are scintillating moments in A Season In The Congo when you feel Chiwetel Ejiofor, returning to the London stage for the first time since his Olivier Award-winning Othello in 2007, will utterly steal the show, so compelling is his performance as Congo’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba.

You need only glance into the actor’s eyes for the briefest of split seconds to be struck by the intense passion and genuine unrelenting belief in the Congolese people’s right to run their own country after years of Belgian rule and abuse.

The latest show at the Young Vic, which hits the audience with verve and energy from the moment they enter the auditorium, begins with a potted history and builds to a conclusion of Shakespearean proportions, finds Ejiofor at his charismatic best, a seemingly unstoppable leader of people, refusing to buckle at any cost. He mesmerises as the voice of a nation eager for freedom.

Just when you think this star of stage and screen, whose films include Children Of Men and Love Actually, is about to run away with the production, director Joe Wright, himself best known for films but making his second foray into stage work, pops up with a creative flourish to make you smile, gawp or grasp, be it a paratrooper invasion or caricatured puppet bankers talking in rhyme. Their creation, incidentally, was overseen by Wright’s sister Sarah who followed their parents, the founders of the Little Angel theatre, into puppetry.

If it is not Ejiofor or Wright catching the eye in Aimé Césaire’s tale of a country trying to find its feet amid less than helpful Western ‘assistance’ – the West certainly is not the hero in this tale – and one man’s unflinching beliefs, it’s the combination of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s choreography and Rodaidh McDonald’s music, which blends perfectly to set scenes and alter moods, notably depicting a jolting, snatching, grabbing country descending into a writhing chaos.

Or it’s Lizzie Clachan’s grand design that dominates the entire auditorium, with café tables and chairs replacing regular seating in the pit area before the stage. Every nook and cranny of the multi-storey set is utilised to create a sprawling, ever changing sense of time and location.

Or it’s Daniel Kaluuya as Mobutu who, in contrast to Ejiofor’s steadfastness, transforms in the course of the show’s two and three quarter hours from Lumumba’s most eager and vehement supporter into the cold-hearted and stony-faced embodiment of power corrupting.

If every other facet of the production was marginally less striking, Ejiofor would undoubtedly steal the show with his electric performance. That he doesn’t speaks volumes for this riveting and inventive piece of theatre.


Sign up

Related articles

Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.