A Lesson from Aloes

A Lesson from Aloes

3 (1) · Contemporary

The first London production in 35 years


“…Our race is a mistake.”

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?

Unseen in London since its UK premiere at the National Theatre 35 years ago where it was directed by Athol Fugard himself and won rave reviews, this new production directed by Janet Suzman marks the 25th anniversary year of the first free and democratic elections in South Africa.

Critic reviews

Simmers and sparks of the apartheid era

Evening Standard

Janet Suzman directs a slow-burning revival of Athol Fugard’s apartheid-era classic

Time Out

Janine Ulfane gives us a Gladys who is fragile and friendless, lonely and longing for a time when politics was a sideshow and not the cruel earth on which she must scratch an emotional living

Broadway World

Well-crafted revival of Athol Fugard’s exploration of trust and friendship in apartheid-era South Africa

The Stage

There are strong performances from all three actors, who bring out the sense in which the trust between the three characters endures, while being severely tested


While the apartheid regime may have changed, the play's themes about home, identity and belonging still feel relevant today


Date & time

Show ended
Wed 27 Feb - Sat 23 Mar, 3pm & 7.30pm
Runtime: 2 hrs


118 Finborough Road SW10 9ED London, UK · Get Directions

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