The Young Vic has announced a searing summer-winter season that runs the gamut, from an edgy, cutting-edge European monologue to the big hit, a massive new biographical musical about Nelson Mandela made in partnership with the family. of the great man.
‘Mandela’ – as it is cleverly called – is the last show of the season, but the biggest attraction, with a long Christmas period (28 November to 4 February). The details are both relatively sparse and fairly obvious: it’s a musical about Nelson Mandela, helmed by Broadway director Schele Williams, with a book by Broadway actor and writer Laiona Michelle, and the music of South African songwriters Greg Dean Borowsky and Shaun Borowsky. In other words, it seems destined for Broadway and is having a chic try at London’s hip theatre. The main question is how exactly this is going to play out: it’s presented as an uplifting affair, steeped in the rhythms of South Africa, but fundamentally Mandela was a freedom fighter in a racist state who was thrown in prison for 27 years: we all know the ending was glorious, but it is surely important that the story told reflects the hardships of his life. We’ll know by the end of the year – special attention to the casting of an absolutely monumental role.
Elsewhere in the season and there’s nothing quite so massive, though theater hipsters will salivate over great European director Ivo van Hove’s monologue adaptation of author Édouard Louis’ furious and tender book “Who Killed My Father’ (September 7-24), which will feature the mighty Hans Kesting: one of the world’s greatest actors, in perhaps his first UK performance in English.
Kicking off the main stage this summer will be Sonali Bhattacharyya’s new play ‘Chasing Hares’ (July 16-August 13): Set in a dangerous factory in West Bengal, it follows Prab, who is asked to write a play for the theater of the boss troop and must decide if it is the occasion to make a daring intervention. And before that, at the tiny Clare Theater there will be ‘The Secretaries’ (June 1-11), a dark comedy about gender stereotypes from American theater company The Five Lesbian Brothers.
Public booking opens April 28 for “Chasing Hares” and “The Secretaries,” May 19 for “Who Killed My Father” and TBA for “Mandela.”
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