‘They Drink It in the Congo’ at Almeida theatre in Islington

1st October 2016

Despite the wide cultural opportunities that London offers, it is quite uncommon to find events – especially theater plays – entirely dedicated to the DRC. When I discover ‘They Drink It in the Congo’ at Almeida theatre, I was extremely curios  to attend and, why not, make some interesting contacts.

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The story focuses on Stef, a white campaign coordinator, who aims to organize a Congolese cultural festival in London, “Congo Voice”, in order to create awareness about the problems in the DRC. Despite her good intentions, she encounters numerous obstacles from the deeply divided Congolese diaspora and, particularly, from the radical political group called Les Combattants.

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Overall, I enjoyed the ironic and sensitive work of Adam Brace. He has successfully brought up some very important issues which are contemporary but not enough know. I particularly enjoyed how Adam was able to underline, through a switch between present and past, the permanent hypocrisy which is behind a long and painful relationship between the DRC and the West. Mostly, the sense of guilt that Western people (or some of them) have towards the African continent.

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As a critical point, I would have avoided the shallow and quite useless personal relationship between Stef and her ex-boyfriend, an event consultant. I understand that probably Adam wanted to alleviate the show, adding a sentimental bit to it. However, I think, his very strong comedian approach during most of the play would have been enough for that. Also, I was quite disappointed to discover that none of the actors/actresses/musicians is actually from Congolese heritage. It was a negative point for my research but, at the same time, I appreciated the challenge of wanting to tell an international story which is so rarely represented.

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