Reviewed by Lisa Cook
Last night I had the fantastic opportunity to see this amazing play called The Last King of Scotland, which has been adapted from the award-winning novel by Giles Foden. If you haven’t seen the film or the book, let me start by saying it’s about the facts of Idi Amin’s eight-year reign in Uganda. What starts as a welcome by the local people, someone for the people, a boxer, who even has their interests at heart. However, given time his idiosyncrasies shine through and leave you with a mad man.
The play begins with a rather dishevelled looking Scotsman who we later discover is Doctor Nicholas Garrigan. This part is played by the very talented Daniel Portman from Game of Thrones. The tale quickly unravels to explain how a Scotsman is on the run even though he has Ugandan nationality.
The first act portrays happy crowds of people pleased that Idi Amin – (the amazing Tobi Bamtefa, he really plays the part so well you believe he is a mad man) has come into power. He plays the part of a very charismatic leader who is at first well-liked by his team of advisors, ambassadors, army and general public. Very quickly Nicholas is promoted to Idi’s personal Doctor, though it’s very questionable what has happened to the previous doctor. As the show unfolds you began to feel slightly uncomfortable with the humour. Some of the content was very funny, but yet you feel it is a serious matter, is it appropriate to laugh at the dark comedy? The rest of the audience did however.
The first act certainly shows what a wonderful party atmosphere there must have been as we are introduced to the charming Perkins and his wife Marina played by Peter Hamilton Dyer and Eva Jane Willis. His two wives, Kay Amin played by Akuc Bol and Malyam played by Joyce Omotola. The journalists George Eggay who also plays the part of the Archbishop and a soldier, Joyce Omotola who also portrays a journalist as well as a barmaid, and the very talented Hussina Raja who plays, an American journalist as well as Priti. I must point out how good she is at portraying different characters and the amazing accents she was able to achieve.
By the interval I was left shocked and pleasantly amazed. The music is great, the chorography was stunning, personally I wanted to get up and dance with them along with their singing… WOW. The props used were good with very simple, but effective scenery. These were quickly changed with amazing dance routines by the cast, in all truthfulness you are unaware until things have changed what’s happening. The Crucible is a lovely amphitheatre style theatre with nowhere to hide for the cast and excellent seating for all of the audience.
The second half was very, very dark, very frightening when you think about the actions and atrocities that have taken place. The scenery in parts were shocking and you could almost hear the audience take a combined breath. The emotions played by these actors was fantastic, you could really feel their pain, anguish and humiliation. The small differences in the voices along with the expressions crossing their faces.
This really is a MUST see I would definitely recommend anyone to see the production and give it a five star rating. Certainly one of the best shows I have seen in a very long time.
Tickets cost from £15 to £40 (booking fees may apply).
The Last King of Scotland is at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield from 27 September to 19 October 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Crucible Theatre, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000