The Mysteries has extended its run at the Queen's Theatre by six weeks, and is now booking to May 18. The extension of this African version of Bible stories comes in the light of remarkably good reviews across the board from drama critics and enthusiastic word-of-mouth response from the public.
"It begins with the Creation and takes us to the Resurrection and beyond" (Times) as the "words are spoken straight out to the audience with a formal ritualism, but we understand only a fraction of them, since the text is delivered in a fluid mixture of English, Xhosa, Zulu and Afrikaans" (Financial Times). However, the stories are so well known that this matters little — "Noah only has to unfold some trellis fencing and, miraculously, we believe it's a water tight ark" (Independent on Sunday). Yet, "if the staging is minimum, the impact is maximum" (Evening Standard) — "it has irresistible energy, unforced piety, a fervent majestic sense of divine revelation and a warm earthy humor" (Sunday Times).
Although difficult to single out individual actors, "as God and Jesus, Vumile Nomanyama brings both majesty and humanity wherever required" (Financial Times). "Charles Hazelwood's musical direction and Joel Mthethwe's choreography also turn this into a piece of total theatre in which speech, song and dance harmoniously unite" (Guardian). From this multi-racial, South African cast comes "a celebration of healing, wholeness, togetherness": "accessible, funny and touching" (Daily Telegraph) this is that rarest of all London events, "a show that actually lays a balm on your spirit" (Independent).
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow