Dealing with mental health issues, particularly at a younger age can feel isolating and confusing. Especially with attitudes and the stigma placed around mental health. Exploring this delicate topic within production Malindadzimu, Mufaro Makubika draws on establishing cultural roots and heritage, as well as spirituality as a means of supporting with mental health recovery.
Located initially in the confines of a clinical hospital ward, Hope is recovering from an attempted overdose, her mother Faith trying her best to understand the cause of her daughter’s attempt. Convinced that relocating back to her native Zimbabwe will help support her daughter’s mental health, the pair embark on a new found rediscovery of who they both are.
Malindadzimu handles this delicate topic beautifully, Kudzai Mangombe’s fiery Hope and Shyko Amos’ grounded Faith at odds with another. Clashing, two strong minded individuals trying to understand one another, a typical mother daughter dynamic that rings true. Natasha Williams’ Gogo is a joy to watch, jubilant yet strong, she’s the show’s ultimate matriarch ensuring everyone around her is cared for, her lively, elder presence necessary, a mediator to both Hope and Faith, instilling a love of Zimbabwean culture within both leads.
The show’s exploration of mental health and spirituality is a powerful through line, Monique Touko directing an engrossing piece of work starting intensely already in the UK, before landing in Zimbabwe and taking on a calmer pace and spiritual energy. Zoë Hurwitz’s striking cloudy panelled stage design a wonderful indicator of location change. Versatile, the panels take on a generic, clinical hospital tone, before transporting us to the sunny, elemental climes of Zimbabwe. Max Pappenheim’s sound design channelling the show’s vivacious yet intense quality. Malindadzimu is a show about reconnection, faith and the power of knowing your cultural heritage, a must watch!
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Malindadzimu is currently showing until Saturday 30th September 2021 at the Hampstead Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…