How does Mozart sound played on the marimbas? Pretty good. This South African show is a sellout, so for once I had that smug feeling that goes with having bought tickets as soon as it was announced. The key fact that has me rushing to the Young Vic box office was the memory of seeing Mark Dornford-May's South African version of The Mysteries in the faded grandeur of Wilton's Music Hall a few years ago. That show, and the version of Carmen which played with it in tandem, was a huge success and transferred to the West End. I didn't see Carmen but I found The Mysteries quite spellbinding. There's something quite uplifting about cultural crossovers when they're done really well. It's hard to pin down, but to successfully take a play or an opera written in one century or place and translate it to another century or place is a way of reinforcing our universal humanity. This is an 18th century musical entertainment written in German for a popular Viennese audience, performed more than two centuries later in a mixture of English and Xhosa by South Africans from Cape Town and Khayelitsha to an audience in London. The story of the Magic Flute is a curious mixture of silliness and seriousness that seems to work on several levels at once. Art and culture should unite us rather than divide us along ethnic or national lines, and this version of Mozart's greatest opera does exactly that. I first saw The Magic Flute in the grand surroundings of the Vienna Opera more than 30 years ago. It's easy to forget that Mozart and Schikaneder were creating a popular entertainment, a Singspiel rather than a grand opera. Dornford-May and his creative team have stirred together an extraordinary musical mixture which seems to move seamlessly through a variety of styles and idioms, from jazz trumpet to African dance to Motown to the kind of a capella choir singing familiar to most of us from Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I'm a musical dunce but the inventiveness and boldness of this project took my breath away. The voices are extraordinary, particularly Pauline Malefane as the Queen of the Night, Philisa Sibeko as Pamina and Simphiwe Mayeki as Sarastro. The multitalented ensemble switch from singing to dancing to playing the marimbas, all with equal aplomb. Like Shakespeare's words, Mozart's tunes are indestructible. This production of a work with which I think I know but can't say I really understand was one of the most satisfying evenings I have spent in the theatre all year. Why? It surprised me with something in every scene.