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South Africa comes to Young Vic for Christmas

Published April 17, 2008

Head to the Young Vic from 20 November to see two perennial favourites given a South African twist by producing company Isango Portobello.

Impempe Yomlingo, a reimagined version of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, and Ikrismas Kherol, a musical adaptation of Dickens’s festive classic A Christmas Carol, run in repertoire at the Young Vic from 20 November 2007 to 19 January 2008. Directed by Mark Dornford-May, the two shows are performed by a company of South African actors and singers in the languages of South Africa and English.

Incorporating marimbas, drums, township percussion and the rich musical voice of 30 South African singers, Impempe Yomlingo is a playful reimagining of the Magic Flute, a story about the trials of life – growing up, finding the love of your life and learning to be wise.

In Ikrismas Kherol, Scrooge is a woman, the setting is South Africa and the past is life under the apartheid regime. While some face harsh poverty, Scrooge is rich and successful, but she lives a lonely, loveless life. Three ancestral spirits come to visit, and by the end Scrooge understands it is never too late to learn from the past, change, and live a meaningful life.

Both shows feature opera singer, actor, screenwriter and musical director Pauline Malefane, who has previously been seen at the Young Vic in Generations.

Director May created the South African lyric theatre company Dimpho Di Kopane, whose production The Mysteries, a version of The Mystery Plays, had several successful runs in the West End from 2001-03. He created Isango Portobello with Oscar-winning producer Eric Abraham in order to produce theatre and film projects for an international audience performed by a new generation of South African actors and singers.

Impempe Yomlingo is suitable for theatregoers aged 10 and over, while Ikrismas Kherol is aimed at those aged 12 and over.

CB

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