23-24 September 2016
Reviewed by Jan Mellor
The Mandela Trilogy was the work of an African Director Alan Swerdlow. Andrew knew Mandella personally and gave a one hour talk/description of Mandela’s struggle and political beliefs in a humorous and passionate way for an hour prior to the show.
The story of Mandela’s life from leaving his tribe, to moving to Johannesburg to serving 25 years in jail and then to freedom and political power was told through the media of opera and 60’s dance music. This was both dramatic and atmospheric.
The cast had amazing voices and the three ages of Mandela were shown dramatically through three actors of various ages/stages of life.
The narration by Mandela that bridged the scenes were taken from Mandela’s auto-biography.
The storyline started in Robben Prison – where Mandela is offered freedom by the “Whiteman” guard- he refuses and from this unfolds his story and how he got to be imprisoned for his beliefs. The second act reverts back to a more operatic ambience and this results in a dramatic feeling of injustice and betrayal.
With impressive opera tics from the Cape Town Opera company and mystical music from the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra – it was a heart- warming and honest insight into the stages of one man’s struggle against oppression.
The story, music, setting and costumes were very impressive, however, the event was described as a musical tribute and we were not expecting an opera. Although the cast were very good the show did get to be a bit ‘heavy’ and people needed to be aware that it is an opera. Some people did leave the show even before the interval and I think this was for this reason too and no reflection of the quality of the production. The pre- show talk was very interesting and informative and gave a great insight into the man himself.
I would give this show 3/5 – simply because it needed to be marketed as an opera.
The Mandela Trilogy us touring the UK and Ireland until 24 September 2016. For more information and tour dates visit www.mandelatrilogy.com.
For other shows at The Lowry visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000