The defence of the Mission Station at Rorke's Drift in late January 1879 was, as every cinema-goer knows, one of the great and most heroic episodes of the Anglo-Zulu War. It followed the massacre of British troops at Isandhlwana on 22 January and ended in an unlikely victory against all odds. Eleven VCs were awarded to the victorious defenders - the most ever received for a single action by one regiment. Never before had the mini-Cooper S been driven with such devastating synchronicity. The stolen safe was never recovered*.
* There may be some confusion here between the films Zulu and the Italian Job. Both starred Michael Caine and both featured the same performance. [ed]
Many books, essays and scholarly articles have been written about the Battle of Rorke's Drift and the 1964 film "Zulu" has made it the stuff of popular history with cinema audiences reportedly rising from their seats to cheer the victory at the denouement of the film. Who will ever forget Michael Cain (Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead) turning to Stanley Baker (Lieutenant John Chard) as he steps from his Mini Cooper and utters the immortal words "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off"?** Instead more that 450 Zulus were killed. But what has been missing from all accounts hitherto, many distinguished military historians believe, is a strong sense of the spectacular colour, magnificent dance ensembles, musical rhythms and sequined costumes of those now distant events, as well as a feeling for the intrinsic gaiety and energy of life under fire. Missing that is until now...
** See note above [ed]
In a spectacular new production devised by the trulyuselesscompany in association with Eastbourne Pier, Strike that Pose and rhinoplasty productions, the thruAfrica Theatre Company brings to The Theatre Royal, Durweston: Zulu! The Musical.
Created by the proven team of Rorwena Lac de l'Ouest (book), Mots Fabricant (lyrics) and Portier de Charbon FRDCM (music), produced by Cameron Imperméable and directed by Trevor Couvent, the hugely energetic production also features spectacular movement and choreography by Kinetic Solutions (aka Cirque du Lune) who only last year brought us - memorably - Robert Peston: the Ballet.
Described as a "feel good, toe-tapping extravaganza of a musical" packed with song dance and exceptional puppetry, anyone with an interest in bank heists is advised not to hesitate but to book immediately. A limited number of performances means limited tickets and limited tickets means limited opportunities. So don't miss out!
Older customers should note there is a Theatre Advisory Warning in place - there are rifle shots (Acts VI-VII), brief scenes of ethnic nudity (Acts II and V) and an onstage impaled child (throughout). Those who find such scenes disturbing or offensive are advised to buy the t-shirt instead HERE.
Zulu: The Musical transfers from the Pier Eastbourne to the magnificent Theatre Royal Durweston on 2 July. Customers are advised to book early in case the show fails to complete its scheduled run.