They Drink it in the Congo*** (Almeida Theatre)

Posted: September 28, 2016 in Theatre


If this show, a weird concoction of drama, comedy, music and dance, is anything to go by, what they drink in the Congo is a heady cocktail that fizzes when each bottle is opened and goes flat quite quickly.

In attempting to condense the troubles of of a complex country into a single drama, writer Adam Brace is taking on much too much. The country’s people remain embittered by a history of European colonialism, impoverished by deeply-rooted corruption and ravaged by wars, internal and in neighbouring countries. It is obvious from the beginning that there are far too many cracks here to be papered over by a cultural festival promoting the country, the organisation of which provides the play with its flimsy centrepiece.

Michael Longhurst’s in-the-round production is colourful and often chaotic, the ingredients not always mixing well, with inconsistent levels of energy. Notwithstanding all that, strong ensemble performances carry it trough most of the patches when it is still more than sparkling.

Performance date: 20 September 20016

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