The Legend and the Legacy: Olivier Award-winning play The Mountaintop comes to Bristol

Gbolahan Obisesan

Gbolahan Obisesan

Bristol Old Vic presents The Mountaintop as part of its continued commitment to re-examining Bristol’s relationship with the past, highlighted through the theatre’s ongoing Year of Change.

Following a sell-out run at the Young Vic theatre in 2016, Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning play The Mountaintop has embarked on a 7–venue UK tour, with Bristol Old Vic’s new Weston Studio marking its penultimate stop from 21–24 Nov. The production received rave reviews and was most recently commended for being a “skilled examination of the issues of racism that still linger in today’s world; a reminder of the beliefs that spurred on the fight, and the work that must carry on.” (Broadway World, ★★★★).

Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, premièred at Theatre503 in 2009, then transferred to the West End in 2010 and won the Olivier Award for Best New Play. Following its West End run, the play opened on Broadway in October 2011 to critical acclaim.

This Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Reading Rep and Desara Bosnja co-production is directed by JMK Award 2016 Winner Roy Alexander Weiseand offers an intimate look into the hours before Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

After delivering his famous “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech, Dr King goes to Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel to rest, before another long day of campaigning. With a storm raging outside, a maid, Camae, arrives to deliver his cup of coffee and his world is spun on its axis.

The Mountaintop chips away at the myth of the great man to expose his fears about his family, his country and the ever-looming threat of violent death. Set during the height of America’s Civil Rights Movement, Katori Hall’s sharp and powerful play confronts his legend and his legacy. Are we really free or do we live in a world of false liberation?

Gbolahan Obisesan played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Young Vic’s original 2016 production and is now reviving the role on tour. As an actor, his theatre credits also include The Bird Woman Of Lewisham (Arcola Theatre), The Inspectors Call (Etcetera Theatre), Concrete Jungle, Piano Forte (Courtyard Theatre), Holyland (Edinburgh/Pleasance/Lyric Hammersmith), The Arbitrary Adventures Of An Accidental Terrorist (Lyric Hammersmith), A Midsummer Night’s DreamOedipus The King and A Hip-Hop Musical (Bloomsbury Theatre). Television credits include Forty-something; Watch over Me!; and short film credits include The Good Sonand Beyond the Blade. Obisesan is also a playwright and director.

Rochelle Rose plays Camae. Her theatre credits include Cinderella (Oxford Playhouse), The Winter’s Tale (The Orange Tree Theatre), Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (The Jack Studio Theatre), One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (Eclipse Theatre/Kiln Theatre) and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Television credits include Lawful Killing (BBC One); Hood Documentary (BBC Three/Fudge Park Productions) and short films include Pipe Up (Company of Angels) and Ghosts (Identity Filmworks).

Katori Hall is an Olivier Award-winning playwright. Her other work includes Tina Turner the Musical, the award-wining Hurt VillageHoodoo LoveRemembrance, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning and Pussy Valley, which is being adapted into a TV series for US network STARZ.

Roy Alexander Weise is the 19th annual winner of the James Menzies-Kitchin Award and an Associate Director at Harts Theatre Company. His theatre credits include Nine Night (National Theatre & West End transfer), Jekyll and Hyde (National Youth Theatre), Dead Don’t Floss (National Theatre), The Ugly One (Park Theatre), The Dark (Ovalhouse), Primetime(Royal Court Theatre), Stone Face (Finborough Theatre) and Br’er Cotton(Theatre503).

★★★★★ City A.M. ★★★★★ Auditorium Mag
★★★★ The Times ★★★★ Evening Standard ★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★ What’s On Stage ★★★★ The Stage ★★★★ Time Out

Listings information:
The Mountaintop
The Weston Studio
Wed 21 Nov – Sat 24 Nov
3pm, 8pm
From £18
Ages 14+