The 25-performance run will play through Oct. 3. The production, adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May and performed by the Cape Town-based Isango Portobello Theatre Company, was previously seen in London at Wilton's Music Hall in 2001, and subsequently transferred to the West End's Queen's Theatre in March 2002.
The Isango Portobello Company was formed by South African-born, British-based producer Eric Abraham and British-born, South African-based Director Mark Dornford-May, and is believed to be the largest black theatre company in the world; they have toured internationally from Dublin to Tokyo. Prior to its West End season, this new production of the The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso debuted at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, and following the London run, the Company will travel to the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris for a two-week run of The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo from Oct. 8. The latter production, seen at the Young Vic in 2007 and subsequently transferring to the Duke of York's, won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival in 2008.
The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso is produced and presented by Eric Abraham. Musical direction is by Mandisi Dyantyis and Pauline Malefane, choreography is by Lungelo Ngamlana, lighting is by Mannie Manim, costumes are by Leigh Bishop and Fagrie Nasiep and puppetry is by Aja Marneweck.
In this African version of these timeless Biblical stories, from the creation to the resurrection, an ensemble of 33 performers plays characters from Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel. They are led by Pauline Malefane playing God and Jesus. The score comprises vocal traditions found in South Africa and the all-black cast perform in English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Tswana and Zulu.
Malefane is an opera singer, actor, screenwriter and musical director. At the start of this year she became the first black African singer to perform in the New Year's Concert in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. Last year she won the Best Film Actress Award for her performance in "Son of Man" at the South African Film and Television Awards. She translated, co-wrote and starred in the award-winning film "U-Carmen eKhayelitsha" and was a featured soloist at the BBC proms in 2006. She was last in London in 2007-08 when The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo played in repertory with A Christmas Carol – Ikrismas Kherol at the Young Vic. Dornford-May has worked in South Africa for the last seven years where he created the Lyric Theatre Company Dimpho di Kopane which preceded Isango Portobello. He was responsible for originating and directing all their productions. "U-Carmen eKhayelitsha" was Dornford-May's first feature film and was awarded the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival, the award for Best Feature at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and a Golden Thumb. His second film, "Son of Man," premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received the Founder's Prize at the Traverse City Film Festival. His production of The Magic Flute has been seen in London, Dublin, Tokyo, Singapore, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Abraham is a film, television and theatre producer. He produced the Academy Award and Golden Gobe winning film "Kolya." His London theatre producing credits include The Magic Flute, Embers, As You Desire Me and That Face.
To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4662 or visit www.themysteries.info for more information.