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Kunene and the King - Complex, disturbing and dark

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Booking from
Friday, 24 January 2020

Booking until
Saturday, 28 March 2020

Running time
1 Hour and 36 Minutes

Performance Times

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
15:00 15:00
19:30 19:30 19:30 19:30 19:30 19:30

Kunene and the King

John Kani's clever, compassionate character study of a two-hand play is due at the Ambassadors theatre for early 2020, and it's a slice of sheer genius, perfect for lovers of serious theatre. Kani’s writing is, as ever, incisive, angry and compassionate. The director Janice Honeyman does a marvellous job of the play, which is dark and full of gallows humour. The emotional shifts wrench us to and fro. This is the story of two ageing men, one white and one black. One is a famous actor played by John Sher, the other his nurse and carer Lunga Kunene, played by John Kani himself. The results are awe-inspiringly good.

The story? The famous white actor Jack Morris has been given a wonderful part, that of King Lear. He's raring to go but an unexpected diagnosis of Stage 4 terminal liver cancer sends him reeling. Refusing to remain in hospital he discharges himself, accompanied by the black semi-retired nurse Lunga. At home they discover a shared passion for Shakespeare and their shared love for his work ignites what The Times called a ‘rich, raw and shattering head-to-head' exploring the state of the country, racism and the legacy left by Apartheid. Magical stuff for grown-up theatre lovers.