The List ✮✮✮✮ – “It’s Great Fun and More than a Little Therapeutic”

Even before we’ve entered the room, the ingredients are in place to make this show by South African drumming group Drum Café one of the sleeper family hits of this year’s festival.

The premise is simple – there are lots of drummers onstage and everyone in the audience has their own drum waiting on their chair when they arrive. As the show progresses, we get to join in with a thundering rhythmic chorus or a soft percussive patter with the musicians before us.

It’s great fun and more than a little therapeutic, and the two leads directing us (the ‘Drummaker’ and the ‘Ubuntu Queen’) build a perfectly accepting environment in which we all learn some rhythmic basics just by watching and repeating, while at the same time avoiding the feeling of self-consciousness caused by being rubbish at playing when the sounds we’re making join into one thrilling whole.

The visual settings are a little trite, from tribespeople in the desert to an urban street crew, but the very simple message of community and helping each other to become more than we’re individually capable of summed up by the word ‘Ubuntu’ is beautifully, resonantly realised.