South Africa, 2019. Twenty-five years since the first post-apartheid democratic elections, two men from contrasting walks of life are thrust together to reflect on a quarter century of change. Jack Morris is a celebrated classical actor who’s just been given both a career-defining role and a life-changing diagnosis. Besides his age, Jack has seemingly little in common with his at-home nurse Lunga Kunene, but the two men soon discover their shared passion for Shakespeare, which ignites this ‘rich, raw and shattering head-to-head’ (The Times).
Written by South African actor, activist and playwright John Kani (Black Panther, The Island, Sizwe Banzi is Dead), this refreshingly funny and vital new play is directed by Janice Honeyman (Vice Versa; The Tempest, 2009) and sees fellow South African Antony Sher (King Lear, 2016 & 2018; Death of a Salesman) perform alongside John Kani in an exceptionally moving performance.
Book now for this ‘fascinating and necessary’ (Financial Times) play, co-produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre, as it transfers to the Ambassadors Theatre for nine weeks only from 24 January 2020.
Please note this show contains strobe lighting, strong language, and some scenes that audiences may find upsetting.
Poignant two-hander illuminates post-apartheid South Africa
Clever and compassionate but feels forced at times
An absorbing comedy-drama
Creaky post-Apartheid drama lit up by two veterans of the stage
Kani’s script is at its best when it uses Shakespeare and language to address wider themes
As a whole, Kunene and the King is an ambiguous play
This is an international theatre collaboration that's a miniature gem
It’s a 'speak what we feel' moment, a profound, unexpected apotheosis
Kunene and the King review: Apartheid battle reduced to an odd-couple double act
So although the play is tough-minded and its words always ring true, the relationship between the two men didn't quite
Kani’s writing tends towards the expositional, especially on the subject of politics, and the dialogue can lurch from theme to theme
An absorbing two-hander
Offers valuable insight into a complex society and portrays a powerful and moving connection between two people who are acutely aware of their history and mortality
The two actors bounce off each other beautifully in an engaging duologue
It is a masterclass from two phenomenal actors
While the script is often rich in humour and colour, it is elsewhere unfortunately characterterised by rather creaky dialogue