Breakfast with Mugabe
From: Wednesday, 3rd May 2006
To: Saturday, 27 May 2006
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Witty and provocative, Fraser Grace's play tells the story of the combative relationship between the Zimbabwean president and a white psychiatrist treating him for depression. Set in Harare, the piece explores the conflict between African and European values and between despotism and liberalism in a series of bruising encounters.
9 May 2006
You don't need to be acquainted with Zimbabwean politics to have Breakfast With Mugabe, though a little prior study might prove useful before watching Fraser Grace's provocative exploration of the titular African despot's psychological make-up. At the very least read the programme notes beforehand, if only to familiarise yourself with words like "chimurenga" (rising) and "ngozi" (spirit) and Prime Minister Ian Smith's part in his country's 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.
In short, this is a play that makes few allowances for a complacent West End audience unwilling to grapple with Zimbabwe's colonial legacy and its leader's controversial land reform programme. Nor is it satisfied to paint the President as a psychotic Hitleresque dictator, opting instead to look at the man behind the brutal violence, electoral fraud and human rights violations. Can we have sympathy for the devil? Yes, according to director Antony Sher - pr...
Latest User Review
18.104.22.168) - 10 May 2006:
Fraser Grace's fascinating play offers a possibly fanciful but highly entertaining peak into the mind of a dictator. Antony Sher's glossy, attractive production has pace, surprising amounts of humour and is genuinely chilling. As one might expect from the RSC, the acting is magnificent. Joseph Mydell's Mugabe terrifyingly combines humanity and menace, David Rintoul brilliantly suggests the confusion and outrage of his therapist, Christopher Obi is suitably imposing as his bodyguard while maybe best of all is Noma Dumezweni as Mugabe's imperious but terrified second wife, altogether smarter and intermittently more compassionate than one might expect. She is also deliciously funny. Altogether, this is well worth seeing....