In a year which has seen a celebration of South African culture at a variety of London venues, from Shakespeare's Globe (Umabatha, a Zulu version of Macbeth) to a concert at Trafalgar Square, taking in numerous other sites including the Tricycle, where satirist Pieter Dirk-Uis performed Foreign Aids, the Barbican is now the venue for Brett Bailey's Big Dada.
The play examines the descent from farce to hideous tragedy of Idi Amin's rule in Uganda. A tragic story is leavened by a characteristic African humor and energy, as an all-male cast use dance and music, tribal rituals and contemporary theatre techniques to tell their story.
Big Dada, which opened on Sept. 19 and runs until Sept. 29, is the latest in a number of plays and performances that have, in 2001, shown London's theatreland to be an inclusive and cosmopolitan platform, offering a showcase to other cultures and different forms of expression from those normally seen in the West End.
—by Paul Webb Theatrenow