Athol Fugard’s 1978 South African classic A Lesson From Aloes – so controversial during Apartheid that it was nearly banned – is revived for the first time since its UK premiere at the National Theatre. And the critics are raving about Janet Suzman’s production, now running at the Finborough Theatre until 23 March 2019. We’ve rounded up selected review highlights below. Time to get booking!
In the small backyard of a house in a shabby Port Elizabeth suburb, pots of aloe – the desert plant that can thrive in the most barren soil – bear silent witness to a world where trust has been betrayed and destroyed.
South Africa in the 1960s. Apartheid is at its height. Mandela’s ANC has just been banned as a terrorist organisation. Informers are everywhere.
Left-leaning Afrikaner Piet and his wife, Gladys, hold a party for their mixed-race friend Steve who has just been released from prison. But when mistrust creeps into your own backyard, the closest of ties are undone. Who has betrayed this group of friends? And why is one of them on a one-way ticket out of the country?
A Lesson From Aloes has not been seen in London in nearly 40 years since its UK premiere at the National Theatre in 1980. This new staging marks the 25th anniversary year of the first free and democratic elections in South Africa in 1994. In Janet Suzman‘s production, Dawid Minnaar plays Piet alongside David Rubin as Steve and Janine Ulfane as Gladys, with lighting by the legendary South African lighting designer, producer and co-founder of The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, Mannie Manim.
A Lesson from Aloes runs from 27 February to 23 March 2019 at the Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are priced £14-£18. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!