This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows
Previewed 8 February 2008, Opened 11 February 2008, Closed 12 April 2008 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
The South African version of Mozart's The Magic Flute in London - performed as you've never heard it: the South African way with marimbas, drums and township percussion!
The Magic Flute - Impempe Yomlingo is a story about the trials of life - growing up, finding the love of your life, learning to be wise. Adventure, fairy story, comedy, drama are all set to glorious music and promises to be a delight for young and old alike, with its message of reconciliation. Telling the story of Prince Tamino's quest to rescue Pamina - daughter of the Queen of the Night - from the Priest of the Sun, The Magic Flute is a heart-warming and comedic story of love, adventure and reconciliation.
The Magic Flute in London is adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May with words and music by Mandisi Dyantyis, Mbali Kgosidintsi, Pauline Malefane and Nolufefe Mtshabe with lighting by Mannie Manim, costumes by Annamarie Seegers and choreography by Lungelo Ngamlana. This production of The Magic Flute comes to London's West End following a sell-out run over from November 2007 to January 2008 at The Young Vic Theatre in South London when it run in repertory with a production of A Christmas Carol.
"What? Mozart on marimbas? Is nothing sacred? In fact, true Mozartians will love this enchanting version by Isango Portobello, a high-octane South African company of actors and musicians... Their Flute has all the original's essential qualities: soaring lyricism, a sense of celebration, generous moral urgency, playful joviality. The singers may not be quite Covent Garden standard, but that is not the point: they sing with precision, clarity and deep feeling." The Sunday Times
"With an orchestra here made up entirely of marimbas, a few percussive bottles of water and, cheekiest of all, a jazzy trumpet instead of a flute, it is Mozart as you've never heard him before, but magic nevertheless. The result is an extraordinary harmony of disparate styles: Mozart's familiar melodies filtered through the distinctive heartfelt and soulful sound and beat of black South Africa. It is all very simply done, with such delightful touches as the roly-poly simpleton Papageno's imprisonment suggested by a basket with a keyhole being placed over his head, which literally shuts him up. While the speaking is often muffled and inaudible, the singing is always glorious, and never forced - with even that famous top-F effortlessly reached by Pauline Malefane's fabulous Queen Of The Night - and it is frequently accompanied by barefooted dancing and swaying. I defy you not to sway along in your seat. A joyous show." The Mail on Sunday
"I doubt there's ever been a Magic Flute like the one by Isango, an extraordinary company of actors, singers and musicians from Khayelitsha township in South Africa... Exuberant and youthful, it deserves to be a Christmas smash hit... The joy of this Magic Flute is the fertile dialogue between Mozart and the various styles of South African music... For everyone, aged eight to 80." The Sunday Telegraph
Eric Abraham, the producer of The Magic Flute in London said: "This production of The Magic Flute had its genesis in Cape Town in early 2006 when Janet Suzman arranged for me to have dinner with the British, but South African based, director Mark Dornford-May and his music director Charles Hazlewood at a seaside restaurant in Hout Bay in Cape Town... The notion of a Cape Town-based company of black South African actors, a kind of embryonic Black South African National Theatre, was discussed while the wine flowed... And so I agreed to underwrite the development of a new company - Isango/Portobello and produce its productions in South Africa and abroad... Sadly, it appeared that domestic sponsors were and are thin on the ground and we decided to limit our horizon, at least in the beginning, and to workshop a few productions so that we could perform two in repertory in Cape Town and London in association with the Young Vic. Over six months West Side Story, The Threepenny Opera, The Magic Flute and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol were experimented with. Flute and Carol, as they became known, were decided on... Happily it worked and the two productions were rapturously received in Cape Town and London - deservedly so with such an extraordinary cast... At the Young Vic they became two of the fastest selling shows in its history. The run here at the Duke of York's is for two months. It's a gamble that there is a West End audience for African version of a classical European opera."
Impempe Yomlingo - The Magic Flute in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 8 February 2008, opened on 11 February 2008 and closed on 12 April 2008.