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Kunene and the King


Ambassadors Theatre

West Street, London WC2H 9ND 0843 904 0061

Kunene and the King poster
  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

Ends 29th March 2020.
CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE, DISTURBING SCENES AND STROBE LIGHTING.
Audio Described performance: 21st March 2020 at 3pm (touch tour 1pm)
 

2019. An actor and his nurse reflect on 25 years of change in South Africa.

Antony Sher and John Kani star in this play by John Kani.

(seen at the afternoon performance on 29th January 2020)

John Kani's performance is the main reason to see this production. Dignified anger, fierce defiant intelligence and the compassion of a survivor. All are sustained as Mr Lunga Kumeme - Sister Kunene to his charges -meets fourth stage cancer victim, actor Jack Morris (Antony Sher).

What follows is a formulaic two-hander. Jack's cantankerous, in pain and losing his dignity (one scene is particularly hard to watch). Kunene accepts it all, with only the occasional explosion. They find common ground in Shakespeare, and Kunene attempts to educate about apartheid. 

The construction falls apart when the political message of the play is communicated in clunky historical stories. Far more effective is the natural progression and final note of anguish.

Sher is on pretty good form, nailing the difficult South African accent, click excepted - Jack can't do those. Even in short work, he also manages a dramatic arc for his character.

A note too for Anna Mudeka, punctuating scene changes with beautiful local music by Neo Muyanga. The scenery (Birrie Le Roux) is fun even if the transformation is a little slow for the stage crew to attempt. Only an odd thunder storm seems a bit of an effort in credibility.

Lacking much in originality of setting, and trying a little too hard to make points "Master Harold... and the Boys" did with stylish grace, this is still an important opportunity to admire the work of a unique South African talent.

 


 

Legacy reader reviews

Can appear here.

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

 

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 3pm and 7.30pm

Runs 1 hour 35 minutes approximately, with no interval.

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

Stalls
Rows B to L: £59.50 except
"Premium Seats" rows E to H 5 to 13: £75
"Package Seats" row F 14, 15; G 3, 4; J 5 to 10: £84.50
Rows M to P: £42.50
Rows Q and R: £25

Dress Circle
Rows A to G: £59.50 except
"Premium Seats" rows A to E 7 to 16: £75
Rows H to L: £42.50

Day Seats: 10 tickets will be released at 10am each morning. These are priced at £25 and only available in person from the Box Office. Location is at box office discretion. Limited to maximum of 2 per person. Check with the box office before travelling if a day seat policy is still in operation.

Students: With valid Student ID, can buy front row A stalls tickets for £5 each between 10am and 11am only at the box office.

RUSH TICKETS: App Todaytix are offering £20 "Rush tickets," located at venue discretion, for all performances. Released for the performance on that day, first-come, first-served. Download the App from Todaytix, unlock the "Rush Ticketing" feature by sharing on Facebook or Twitter, and that will allow you to buy tickets.

 

 

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