British director Mark Dornford-May brings his South African company Isango Portobello back to London with this new production of his adaptation of the English medieval Mystery Plays, The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso.

Performed by a black South African ensemble of 33 in five different languages (English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Tswana and Zulu), The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso brings the timeless biblical stories to life through South African vocal and dance traditions. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, God and Jesus are all depicted by the ensemble, led by award-winning singer and musical director Pauline Malefane. 

Isango Portobello was last seen in London with its distinctly South African take on The Magic Flute and A Christmas Carol, which played in repertoire at the Young Vic in 2007. The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo went on to enjoy a West End run at the Duke of York’s theatre and crowned its achievement with a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.

Director Dornford-May has worked in South Africa for seven years, first creating the Lyric Theatre Company Dimpho Di Kopane and then Isango Portobello, along with producer Eric Abrahams. 

Malefane is an award-winning actor, writer and opera singer whose work in London includes a solo performance at the BBC proms in 2006 and playing the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.

The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso plays at the Garrick theatre for a limited run of 25 performances only.

For more about The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso, read about director Dornford-May’s long association with the Chester Mystery Plays or the First Night Feature.

Looking to see some musical theatre? Find out more about London musicals.

Read More