A/V Room









Who Killed Mr Drum? - the Riverside Studios finds out

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

A NEW play by Fraser Grace and Sylvester Stein, Who Killed Mr Drum? receives its world premiere at west London's Riverside Studios on September 1, 2005 (previews from August 26). Its limited season continues until October 8, 2005.

Based on Stein's 1999 book of the same name, it tells the story of South Africa's first black magazine, Drum - of how not long after Stein took over as editor in 1955 problems began and he and most of his staff were forced into exile - largely on account of the magazine's anti-apartheid stance.

That it's set in the 1950s, in Johannesburg's vibrant Sophiatown - which under government orders was bulldozed and its black populace forcibly removed to Soweto - puts it in true perspective.

Stein wrote his first novel, a satire on apartheid called Second Class Taxi, after settling in Britain. It became a best-seller in his native South Africa but was subsequently banned. His other books include The Bewilderness, Old Letch and 99 Ways to Reach a 100.

While Grace's other plays include Perpetua, Frobisher's Gold, Bubble and premiering this coming autumn as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's new work festival, Breakfast with Mugabe.

In Who Killed Mr Drum? leading South African actor Sello Maake Ka-Ncube who only last year took on the title role in the RSC's acclaimed production of Othello, plays assistant editor and literary spirit Can Themba, opposite Stephen Billington as Stein.

Also in the cast are Wela Frasier, Marcel Mccalla and Lucian Msamati.

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