31 May Brilliant Review of Amandla!
Freewheelers Theatre Company
Touring through 2017
Writer/director CHRIS HAYDON, choreographer ANDREA ATKINSON, designer EMMA KESTERTON, composer TOM GRAY, paintings RACHEL GADSEN.
Ensemble cast, TERRI WINCHESTER, RICHARD WATSON, EMS DOOLEY, LUKE TYE, DANIEL GALLIFORD, JAMIE STEWART, ANNETTE DAVIDSON, MATT SEABY, RACHEL MOLD, SAM KEELAN
FREEWHEELERS is a theatre group comprising performers with a wide range of disabilities. This presents many challenges but in AMANDLA they are given the perfect project to forge a unified style. The biography of Nelson Mandela is a story about a man fighting against discrimination, something which most disabled people experience daily. The impact of this production is in the way that the specific talents of each actor are utilised to tell the story. Thus, TERRI WINCHESTER delivers the words of Mandela with passion but RICHARD WATSON echoes these words with dance, whirling around the stage and shadow boxing with gleeful energy. The fortitude and focus of the play’s hero is mirrored in these performances, as they are throughout the company. Detailed biographical information is conveyed both by live dialogue and specially filmed footage, featuring the cast. Fr Trevor Huddleston, murdered activist Steve Biko, journalist Donald Woods and Mandela’s wife Winnie were all important figures in the anti-apartheid movement and here are portrayed with conviction. Truly multi-media, video footage cuts between the accelerated painting of images, naturalistic scenes, documentary interview and dance sequences performed by a much larger group of disabled performers. The climax of the show is a beautiful and triumphant chorale from the cast, led by the magnificent voice of LUKE TYE.
View the Amandla! production page here.