The Man Who Almost Killed Himself is a funny and tragic true story inspired by the work of anthropologist Andrew Irving in Uganda and Eastern Africa. The creative talent behind this interesting show is not to be sniffed at either; they bring the community, traditions and beliefs of Africa thrillingly to life. Soulful tunes are provided throughout by The Ganda Boys who use their superb harmonies and some technical wizardry to to add weighty incidental music to most scenes.
Soulful tunes are provided throughout by The Ganda Boys who use their superb harmonies and some technical wizardry to to add weighty incidental music to most scenes. They're occasionally called upon to participate in scenes as supporting characters, which might not have been the best idea as their stage and acting talents are no match for their musicianship or, more importantly, the two leads.
Tinderai Munyevu takes on the eponymous role of a Ugandan trying to end it all but never quite achieving the final goal. One could not be blamed for assuming that his continued attempts to commit suicide would be utterly depressing. However, the script, direction and Munyevu's charming performance mine some decent comedy out of his lack of love for life. An attempt which requires the help of an audience member is particularly amusing and well played.
Throughout his attempts Munyevu is hounded by a 5000-year-old God, played by Danielle Vitalis, who regularly besets his attempts. Although Vitalis multi-roles, it is her performance as the God among men which makes her stand-out in this show. She is sassy, optimistic, fun-loving and, ultimately, caring. She can pop out at any moment to compromise Munyevu's plot to end it all and she always does so with a broad grin and a twinkle in her eye.
The set is a little unnecessarily complicated and some special lighting effects don't work quite as well as they could. That being said, The Man Who Almost Killed Himself is a fascinating and funny journey through the cultural and political recent history of Uganda and Africa – a history that still sends ripples through to the modern day.
Andy is a writer and actor based in London. He is the Resident Writer for the charity Creative Youth, creating and running a course on Reviewing the Arts for young people during the International Youth Arts Festival every July. When not at the theatre he can normally be found enjoying a cold beer and a John Martyn LP.