We round up what the critics have had to say about Mufaro Makubika’s new play at the Hampstead Theatre.
WhatsOnStage: *** “Monique Touko makes an assured directing debut in a production that feels elongated but never dull, played out on Zoë Hurwitz’s economic yet vibrant set. And Sifiso Mazibuko and Tendai Humphrey Sitima show great versatility by bringing to life a range of supporting characters – this is an ensemble firing on all cylinders.”
iNews: *** “The stylistic contrasts, though they highlight collisions of time, place and culture, sometimes feel jarring rather than thematically expressive. But it’s persuasively performed and always engaging.”
The Guardian: *** “Despite the dramatic overload of the ending, the coexistence of the real and supernatural on stage works overall.”
Broadway World: **** “Every so often, however, lines and ideas feel repeated once too often. In addition, the first few scenes feel as though they move too quickly, with characters making decisions that don’t quite make sense, or changing their minds entirely within five minutes. Regardless, the scope and intensity of Makubika’s writing is outstanding.”
London Theatre1: **** “The closing scene is, frankly, almost as melodramatic as that other show, with a conclusion about as neat and tidy as a musical theatre happy ending. This doesn’t, of course, in itself diminish the plausibility of the storyline, and the production does well to discuss, without being preachy, how the past influences the present and the future.”
London Unattached: “The intimate setting of the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs provides a containing space for the intense tale of African history and family trouble, fit with African singing, TikTok-style dancing, traditional rituals and modern technology.”
The Times: *** “There’s another play lurking in the programme notes of Mufaro Makubika’s promising but tantalisingly sketchy study of a woman and her daughter building a new life on a farm in Zimbabwe.”
The Reviews Hub: *** “Malindadzimu starts to explore some really interesting concepts and how the resting place of a controversial figure affects subsequent generations, particularly when concepts of African and British identities have expanded considerably. But the play spends too long setting the scene and doesn’t quite fulfil its promise.”
The Upcoming: **** “With a running time of around an hour and 40 minutes, the play sometimes feels overly long, though any issues with pacing are eradicated by the closure – an emotional and powerful scene carried out in part by a spirit medium (the phenomenal Tendai Humphrey Sitima), which brings Hope and Faith closer than they have ever been before. Directed by Monique Touko, Malindadzimu is a thought-provoking and poignant exploration of belonging.”
British Theatre Guide: “Makubika doesn’t really explore the central mother-daughter relationship; what his characters represent takes precedence. He can sometimes handle cultural difference with gentle humour but exploits ethnic ceremony to provide a dramatic explosion and a contrived resolution. That solves Faith’s agricultural problem but doesn’t really address the continuing commemoration of those like Rhodes who killed and exploited others for their own gain and the extension of Empire.”
The Stage: *** “Spirited, skilful performances lend power to a warm-hearted story of intergenerational cooperation.”
Malindadzimu continues to play at the Hampstead Theatre until the 30th October.