Theatre Review: SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill is a staggeringly beautiful piece, inspired by a little-known World War One tragedy

Good morning readers – just a quick reminder that I’m on holidays until late October! The good news is, I’ve got plenty scheduled between now and then, so happy reading!

In February 1917, just 11 miles off the coast of the Isle of Wight, the SS Mendi, carrying more than 800 souls to the Western Front, was struck by another ship and sank into the ocean. 646 men, mostly black and mostly volunteers, drowned.

The little-known tragedy was recently explored in Fred Khumalo‘s excellent Dancing the Death Drill, and it’s this novel that serves as inspiration for this outstanding piece of choral music and theatre, from Cape Town’s Isango Ensemble.

Continue reading “Theatre Review: SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill is a staggeringly beautiful piece, inspired by a little-known World War One tragedy”