Sunday, 26 September 2010

CONVERSATION HIGHLIGHTS: A quick chat with 2010 'Rising Stars' champ, Dalton Harris

Dalton Harris may be soft-spoken and rather unassuming, but the 16-year-old Edwin Allen student has a golden voice – and a quiet confidence – that Jamaicans have fallen for. Hardly surprising, therefore, that their weekly votes during the recently concluded seventh season of Digicel Rising Stars helped keep his dreams of stardom alive, culminating in the lanky kid from upper Clarendon being crowned as the 2010 champion a week ago.

And now that he’s got a shot at real fame – and earning the respect of his school peers – the young millionaire is already thinking about Grammys… and having kids of his own. TALLAWAH gets the scoop.

When you were finally announced as the winner of the new season of Rising Stars – and even during the cheque presentation later – you appeared very shocked, even dazed. What was going through your head?
Well, I guess I was surprised because I was up against Camaley. She had a lot of people campaigning behind her, and I had no one in Kingston to campaign for me. I am now getting used to being the winner.
A lot of people say you remind them of 2007 winner Romain Virgo, with whom you performed during last Sunday’s grand finale. Did he have any advice for you?
[During the competition], he told me to just pick songs that complement my voice.
Do your friends treat you any differently now that you’re a young celeb?
I think they are a little bit harder on me. Sometimes I have to hide at school because they will jump on me (Laughs). They see me as more of a role model now, and they treat me with more respect.
What about at home? No more dish-washing, right?
[At home], they treat me like a star (Laughs). I don’t do chores.
That’s the life! So how is your girlfriend handling all this?
I can’t talk about that.
Hmmmm. What kind of future are you looking forward to, as you gear up for a career in the music industry?
Well, I am hoping for a very successful one. I hope to be an award winner and reach the Grammys and beyond. I also want to be able to have my kids within the next 6 years.
You will be 22 in six years. Why that age?
That’s the best time.
Really? Is that what you were told?
No. I think about things like that all the time. You don’t want to wait too long.
Tell me one thing people would be very surprised to know about you.
That I am an athlete. I run the 100 and 200 metres, and the relay.
Do you represent your school in athletics?
No, I run at Sports Day. I am not a top athlete that goes to Champs, but I can run lef’ a couple people.
(Laughs). You’re hilarious.


THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: Young theatre actors stepping up – and getting noticed

NAILING THE PART: Passionate and poised for the big times, these four ascendant thespians (all younger than age 30) know a thing or two about holding their own on the stage.

Brian Johnson

Already boasting a string of impressive roles on his résumé, Johnson (a member of the Jamaica Youth Theatre) is arguably the Alwyn Scott of his generation, with a very promising future ahead. His most buzzworthy performance came via the gritty, Fabian Thomas-directed For Black Boys, which allowed the young thesp (above) to display immense emotional range and dramatic chops. Hopefully, the Actor Boy judges took notice.

Laveda Thompson

One of the most delightful aspects of Robin Baston’s latest production, What Is Fi Yuh, involves watching the charming, convincing portrayal of a young woman eager to finally have a home to share with her man, delivered by Thompson. While she had her moments in last year’s Dreamgirls, Thompson blossoms beautifully in the new role, and leaves a lingering impression.

André Morris

In almost all this acting performances, Morris has largely been able to combine his natural raw talent with some brain power and masculine energy to get the job done. The proof is in strong, smart turns in such productions as For Black Boys and What Is Fi Yuh earlier this month. Still, I look forward to seeing him captivate in an incredibly intense role that will knock people’s socks off. I know he has it in him.

Rayon McLean

Another fast-rising talent in local theatre is McLean (below), who has not only demonstrated his knack for excelling in dramatic fare and being believable before an audience, but he’s also inspiring his fellow rising stars with his leadership skills as a budding director. Recently, he led the Jamaica Youth Theatre to acclaim at the World Youth Theatre Festival with the production Graffiti, which was later staged at the Philip Sherlock Centre, UWI Mona. It will be very interesting to see how McLean’s promising theatre career unfolds.


TREY SONGZ: The R&B star feeds his appetite for sex and success on new release ‘Passion, Pain & Pleasure’

The loudest statement R&B heartthrob Trey Songz makes with his latest studio release (his fourth), Passion, Pain & Pleasure (Atlantic), is that he’s got staying power, and his hunger for a place in the industry is fresh as ever. Oh, and he is also a magician in the bedroom. The album title is a reliable heads-up about the offerings on this 17-track disc. It’s a lustful, sexed-up anthology of contemporary R&B singles and interludes with clearly identifiable hip-hop influences and distinctive pop sensibilities that continues the hypersexual curve Trey began with his last album, 2009’s Ready.

The album’s lead single “Bottoms Up,” is a pulsating club banger about booze and foxy broads, featuring a spicy cameo from reigning queenpin of rap, Nicki Minaj, while the passable pop/dance number “You Just Need Me,” sounds like something newcomer Taio Cruz would record. Trey fares far better with slithery tracks like “Massage,” a promise of an evening of erotic bliss; the smooth Mario Winans-produced “Can’t Be Friends” and “Unusual,” featuring a witty verse from longtime pal, rapper Drake.

“This bedroom is my Colosseum. Ring my bell, I’ll let you in,” Trey invites on the midtempo jam “Doorbell,” and dives into heated passion with the stellar “Love Faces,” the kind of track that goes perfectly well with scented candles. But then less-than-stellar moments arrive with fillers like “Alone,” “Blind” and interludes for each of the themes represented in the album’s title. As much as it is a decent overall effort from an artiste with obvious gifts, this album could have been a few tracks shorter. These days, if you ask me, 17 tracks is overkill.

Musically, however, the album is just what you expect from the ‘new’ Trey Songz, a fast-rising R&B sex-god who has snagged the endorsement of such influential tycoons as Jay Z. And, if the blogs are to be believed, he has reportedly already bragged that he’s now a ‘hotter’ commodity than his idol R. Kelly. As far as Passion, Pain and Pleasure goes, it won’t dramatically alter the trajectory of Trey’s career. But, fortunately, the singer knows his core (largely young female) fanbase, and the stuff on Passion is right up their alley. In the tradition of R. Kelly, this is soundtrack material for midnight bedroom romps, and demonstrates that Trey is quickly coming into his own as a young R&B power player with a big appetite for sex and success. Tyrone’s Verdict: B

DOWNLOAD: The repeat-worthy “Massage” and the heavy club jam “Bottoms Up”


RUMOUR CONTROL: YENDI, did Asafa put a ring on it?! + EMPREZZ quits ‘Magnum Kings and Queens’ + Spanish Ambassador JESUS SILVA says ‘Adios’

A RING IS A RING: Each time I’ve run into Miss Yendi since her return from Miss Universe, I ask her about a fabulous ring I see adorning that special finger. But, of course, she quickly and coyly tells me “it’s just a ring.” (Sure, Yendz. I’ve been doing my investigations.) Most recently, Yendi was spotted flaunting the gorgeous gem at the Style Observer Awards, where she picked up the People’s Choice prize. If it is indeed an engagement ring, then congratulations are definitely in order. If not, Asafa what are you waiting for? Time’s a-wasting, young man.

In the meantime, dear readers, be sure to pick up the new issue of BUZZZ Magazine (available now!), in which Yendi spills juicy details on her future plans, especially her eye-opening discussion of marriage, kids – and why Asafa is the only one for her. It’s a must-read. Plus, Yendi has never been more stunning than on that cover shot! Definitely a collector’s item.

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ROYAL EXIT: The ‘empress’ is leaving the ‘king and queens’ behind for greener pastures. According to recent media reports, TV/radio sweetheart (and boutique operator) Emprezz Mullings is no longer the host of the dancehall talent show Magnum Kings and Queens, having turned in her resignation to the show’s producers. "The final decision was after talking to the executive team on a couple things and realising that some things I wanted would not be accommodated. So three weeks ago I sent in my resignation. Also, I decided that it was time to start growing and there was no more growth for me on the show," Emprezz told the Jamaica Star last week, while making it clear that it was an amicable split.

"[The producers] were okay with it. And they said they will miss me as I will them, especially my viewers. Man, I hate to leave them. That is the part that brings tears to my eyes. The team was the greatest production team to work with. I will miss the interaction with the contestants and my fabulous Jamaican audience. I will miss the opportunity to create my version of couture dancehall fashion, the 'Empress' way, and rock it on the show. I will also miss the humour.” All the best to Emprezz. I will be watching out for your big TV comeback.

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BUEN VIAJE: Speaking of departures, best wishes to Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, the well-loved, proficient Jesús Silva, who ends his Jamaican sojourn in less than two weeks. Silva, who has been Spain’s man in Jamaica since 2005, will take up his new post (with his wife and kids) in Panama come October. He will be succeeded here by Celsa Nuno. "We have felt at home, it's been made easy for me and my family. It's nice to be treated as one more Jamaican, not just a foreigner,” he told the Jamaica Gleaner’s Outlook magazine. "Jamaica will probably be the country that will leave the biggest impression in both my family and business life.” Naturally, ambassador, naturally.


JAMAICA HOUSE SPOTLIGHT: On The Scene with Prime Minister Bruce Golding

Prime Minister Bruce Golding will address the 65th session of the United Nations now underway in New York, on Monday, September 27. PM Golding earlier this week addressed the high-level plenary on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), at the UN, during which he called for renewed commitment backed by new strategies to meet the MDGs. He also gave an update of Jamaica’s progress toward achievement of the MDG targets despite the difficulties experienced by the island. (UN Photo)

Prime Minister Bruce Golding offers comforting words to members of one of the families of Jamaicans who died on Saturday, September 18, when the van in which they were travelling blew a tire and flipped repeatedly on the Interstate (I-87) Highway in New York. Church leader Bishop Simon White and his wife, Zelda were among five other Jamaicans who lost their lives in the accident. PM Golding, who is currently in New York City to attend the United Nations General Assembly, visited the home of the late Bishop White in Port Chester and offered his condolences on behalf of the people of Jamaica. He pledged the Government’s support to assist the families in any way possible. Pastor Robert Reid (7th left), who also lost his mother, Elaine Reid, 65 in the accident thanked PM Golding for visiting the family. The other victims are associate pastor, Titus McGhie, 66; Evelyn Ferguson, 65; and Avril Murray, 62 – all members of the Joy Fellowship Christian Assembly, located in the Bronx.

Michelle Johnson of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), sister of Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, is comforted by Prime Minister Bruce Golding at the funeral service for their mother, Laurel Johnson, which was held at the St. Margaret's Church, Liguanea, St. Andrew, on September 18. Prime Minister Golding read the first lesson at the service.


Friday, 24 September 2010

YENDI PHILLIPPS holds fast to her happiness, as she looks ahead to film career, kids and marriage

Now 25, a Miss Universe first runner-up, and dating one of the Caribbean’s most eligible bachelors, life couldn’t be better for beauty queen Yendi Phillipps, who celebrated her blissful quarter-century earlier this month. But, on Yendi’s page, age is just another number. “For me, it’s really just another birthday. I don’t feel any older. I feel fine,” she tells BUZZZ in an exclusive 7-page spread and interview for the magazine’s October issue. In the must-read article Phillipps opens up about leaning on her family, handling negativity, and her fascinating take on marriage. But one thing she makes absolutely clear is that she is “content with life right now.” So content, that she lives life in fast-forward, outlining plans for a future she hopes will include kids, a fulfilling career in front of the camera, and perhaps taking a certain man’s last name as her own someday.

Here are a few snippets from the BUZZZ exclusive:

On marriage: “I don’t think a marriage has to include a wedding. A lot of people come to marriage with that kind of mindset. I believe in the union. For me, it’s more about the mental and the emotional state that comes with it.”

On having kids: “I have a plan for my kids. For the first three years, I want to be a stay-at-home mom. I plan to have a few kids. I want to have three and adopt one.”

On competing at Miss Universe: “My nerves were shattered for the 15 days leading up to Miss Universe. A plethora of emotions: anxiety, fear, doubt. There were times that I questioned what I was doing there. It was extremely rigorous to the tenth power. My feet were begging for mercy,” she shares. And by the time the live pageant finally arrived? “I was calm and collected at that point. I felt so accomplished, content. There was nothing more wonderful.” And finishing as first runner-up? “Finishing second surpassed my expectations. It was amazing. No nerves.”

On being a role model: “I do consider myself a role model, and I think my actions speak louder than words. People see everything you do, so the actions and choices you make are imperative,” she says. “I am an attestment to the fact that it is okay to dream. Just stay true to yourself and not let people keep you from your aspirations.”

On Asafa Powell the kind of man that lights her fire: “He must have a sense of humour and honesty. He has to be someone who is supportive, someone who is understanding and see eye to eye with me on things like spirituality. And it doesn’t hurt if the person has nice abs. (Giggles)”

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the magazine, out now.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

GREED IS BACK: Michael Douglas reprises his Oscar-winning role, opposite Shia LaBeouf, in Oliver Stone’s long-awaited 'Wall Street' sequel

THE HUSTLERS: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin and Michael Douglas steal the scene in Wall Street 2.

If there is one constant that emerges from the new sequel to Oliver Stone’s groundbreaking, Oscar-winning 1987 picture Wall Street, it’s the universally acknowledged truth that the power of the family bond tends to always prevail. That said, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is an enjoyable film that, in spite of its mix of remarkable high-points and disappointing dips, has the trappings of a powerful drama. That’s saying a lot for a film that is a tad overlong (at 136 minutes) and periodically unfocused.

At its best, though, Wall Street 2 serves as a wonderful showcase for the acting chops of Shia LaBeouf, who is rapidly maturing into a charismatic, charming leading man, and he convincingly holds his own in the numerous scenes he shares with his more seasoned colleagues Josh Brolin, Frank Langella and Michael Douglas.

Speaking of Douglas, this film is as much his as it is LaBeouf’s, and he makes the long-awaited return of the sharky Gordon Gekko, while nothing spectacular, frequently riveting and occasionally humorous. As the malevolent Wall Street hotshot, who returns from prison after an eight-year stint for insider trading, Douglas (who won his Oscar 23 years ago for originating Gekko) skillfully portrays a master at zoning in on a person’s emotional weak-spot and taking delight in seeing them “squirm.” In one scene, Gekko’s daughter, Winnie, played by the adorably talented Carey Mulligan (An Education) says, “I’ve never known my father to be a peaceful man, and that always scared me.” Well, she is not alone.

On the surface, Wall Street 2 is about the global economy teetering towards collapse, shameless ambition and vengeance – and the ubiquitous triumvirate of money, power and respect. At its core, however, lurks a somewhat underdeveloped examination of familial bonds (whether by blood or forged connections), particularly in the patriarchal relationships among Douglas, Langella and the younger co-stars LaBeouf and Mulligan.

The main plot of the film, however, centres on Jacob Moore (LaBeouf), a young Wall Street trader whose mentor (Langella) ends his own life one day by jumping in front of a moving train. What drove him to such despondent action? To help him get answers, Moore teams up with the newly-released Gekko on a mission to unearth long-buried skeletons and alert the financial community of impending doom. But what is Gekko, the master manipulator, really after? Redemption? Hardly likely. For Gekko, it’s always about the trade, and satisfying his greed – “the game,” as he unashamedly puts it.

Sub-plots, meanwhile, involve a sinister corporate bigwig (played with subtle brilliance by Josh Brolin) and Moore’s romance with Winnie that’s wrapped in an intimate chemistry that is nothing if not splendidly sweet. The narrative from screenwriter Allan Loeb (Things We Lost in the Fire) is largely engaging but runs out of steam as the movie draws near to its real conclusion (there are a few!). Shortcomings aside, Stone still manages to keep the picture from capsizing.

The action, storytelling and cinematography (including some stunning aerial shots of the architectural grandeur of New York City) make good contributions. Stone makes some smart directorial choices, and the actors invest in their roles admirably, but in the end Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps yields mixed results. Tyrone's Verdict: B-

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

TEISHA DUNCAN: The fun and fearless actress brings her crackling wit to new role; and talks travels abroad, family and overcoming challenges

MY FAIR LADY: "My family is my heart," shares Teisha Duncan.

The vivacious actress, whom I remember most vividly from a wonderful turn in the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company’s (JMTC) 2001 summer production of Sarafina! is back! She talks to TALLAWAH about her latest theatrical role on Jamaican soil with the University Players, her travels, family love and the advice she has for acting’s local up-and-comers.

Tell me about the role you play in Tartuffe, and what your preparation process has been like.
I play Dorine. She is an outspoken, sharp-witted, loose-tongue maid that is not really a maid; she comes across more like a member of the family. She speaks to her master as if they were on the same level. In the vein of a stock character she would represent the wise servant who sees through all pretence and, while being the inferior in social position, she is the superior in any contest of wits. My general process begins with research. Now it is about finding her around me and getting that internally, which isn't difficult because Jamaica is full of 'characters'.

We haven't seen you on the Jamaican stage in a while. What have you been up to?
I left Jamaica to attend Howard University, and so I fully immersed myself in being a student. I have since completed my studies in Musical Theatre. While at Howard, I developed an acute interest in research and classical ancient civilizations, so I spent a summer studying in Egypt. Last year, I attended the Musical Theatre Institute in Switzerland; my concentration was in composition of musicals for children. After completing Howard, I traveled to the Dominican Republic with Lydia Diamond's play The Bluest Eye, based on the novel by Toni Morrison. I spent 3 months in Florida doing a musical. In the last year I have been working as an actress in New York. Before returning home, I had the honour of portraying the title role in the first New York revival (since its Broadway close) of the Tony-winning musical Caroline, or Change.

What's family life been like?

My family is my heart, so wherever I go I carry them with me. I am fortunate to have a family that fully supports me. I am glad to be back though because being away I really felt like I wasn't supporting them as much as they were supporting me. So it is good to be back and know that I can be there for them whenever they call. Nothing but unconditional love!

Speaking of family, what have you learnt from your mother about womanhood?
The greatest lesson I've learnt from my mom is that "No matter what happens to you in life you have to remain functional." That principle applies to womanhood and a plethora of other development standards in my life.

What have been the biggest challenges you've encountered on your journey as an artist? How did you rise above them?
My biggest artistic challenge has always been to avoid standing in my own way. The moment I decided to study and truly own my craft was the moment I started my journey of addressing that issue. I realize that in order to truly invest in myself I really had to give myself a chance. I owed it to myself to believe in my skills, challenge naysayers, and give myself permission to be great!

What's your advice for up-and-coming actors?
I encourage all young actors to dream with their eyes open see the vision and make it plain, playing an active role in their own success. Don't be lazy, invest in your development. Acting is a craft, study it. You can only be a cut above the rest if you have the foresight, drive and a foundation that is unshakable. Don't be afraid to be you; that is the only unique thing to an artist’s success – individuality.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about Teisha Duncan?
I collect children storybooks from different countries and in different languages. As grown as I am I love a book with pictures and a happy ending that comes out of nowhere. (Laughs).

What three things always bring a smile to your face?
A beautiful smile from someone that starts from their eyes; children laughing especially my niece and nephew, and any episode of The Golden Girls.

Is there a great book you'd like to recommend to TALLAWAH readers – and why do you love it?
T.D. Jakes' book Before You Do. It is a book that explores the dynamics of making great decisions you won't regret. The philosophies are Bible-based and features topics like before you blame, before you settle for less, before you commit and before you decide to love.


‘THE GARGAMEL’ ON TRIAL: Lawyer says Banton tasting cocaine was singer's "worst mistake"

One of the most keenly anticipated moments of the Buju Banton trial, which got underway in the United States on Monday, will arrive when the embattled reggae star takes the witness stand in his own defence. David Markus, Banton’s lawyer said his client will be taking the stand soon in his fight against drug charges. The trial began on Monday in the US Middle District Court of Florida, Tampa Division, approximately nine months after the veteran entertainer’s arrest.

So far in the trial, prosecutors allege that Buju was an established drug trafficker before he tried to buy cocaine from an undercover cop in Florida last year. Assistant US Attorney James Preston told the jury that in a recorded conversation Buju had asked government informant, Alexander Johnson, if he had any contacts where he could get cocaine. Preston also states that Banton was looking for new and different money through a new conspiracy, in addition to already-funded drug deals.

However, his attorney, David Markus, has insisted that Buju did not participate in any conspiracy to sell cocaine, even if he did talk with the informant about drug deals. According to Markus, Buju talked a lot and he did taste the cocaine but he was not a drug dealer and was not part of the deal. Banton and an associate allegedly negotiated with an informant to buy the cocaine. They and a third man reportedly met with an undercover officer in a Sarasota warehouse on December 8 last year to buy the drugs.

The informant told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he saw the singer inspecting the cocaine and tasting it from his finger. However Buju’s lawyer has told the court that his tasting the cocaine was the worst mistake of his life. Markus is trying to prove that Buju was a victim of a ‘set-up’ in the incident which was captured on video. Buju’s two co-defendants, James Mack and Ian Thomas, have also turned against him.

Since his arrest in December last year, Buju whose real name is Mark Myrie, has been held without bail on charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine. Banton is also charged with carrying a firearm during the course of a drug-trafficking crime. The four-time Grammy nominee, whose latest album is Before The Dawn, faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

Stay tuned…

TALLAWAH READING ROOM: New York Times ® Bestsellers (Week of September 19)


'IT' LIT: What are the most buzz-worthy titles on the world's pre-eminent reading list? The New York Times offers a quick breakdown - the five most popular fiction and non-fiction reads out now. How many have you read already?

FICTION:

* Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) by Jonathan Franzen
* The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (Knopf) by Stieg Larsson
* The Help (Putnam) by Kathryn Stockett
* The Girl Who Played With Fire (Knopf) by Stieg Larson
* Getting to Happy (Viking Adult) by Terry McMillan

NON-FICTION:
* Eat, Pray, Love (Penguin) by Elizabeth Gilbert
* The Grand Design (Bantam) by Stephen Hawking
* Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang (Grand Central) by Chelsea Handler
* Outliers: The Story of Success (Little, Brown...) by Malcolm Gladwell
* Sh*t My Dad Says (It Books) by Justin Halpern

Monday, 20 September 2010

DIGICEL RISING STARS: Teen sensation Dalton Harris takes 2010 title; cops million-dollar top prize

RISING STARS RECAP: Another year, another champ crowned. The curtains came down on the rather lukewarm seventh season of Digicel Rising Stars on Sunday, with 16-year-old vocalist Dalton Harris unsurprisingly coming away with the 2010 title, ahead of fellow top-two Camaley. Harris was the second teen to ever win the talent competition. His prize haul included a fat cheque valued at $1 million and year-long Digicel 4G Broadband service. Must be nice. Here are some highlights from the grand finale held at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. (Photos courtesy of Digicel)

Camaley gets some attention from the boys

Dancehall soulster Cherine Anderson helps Camaley belt one out

Energetic host Lady Rennae and the top two await the final results

Brothers from another... 2007 winner Romain Virgo and Harris thrilled the capacity audience

Still dazed from his victory, Harris accepts his winner's cheque and new 4G Broadband from Digicel's Marketing Manager Peter Lloyd and Senior Sponsorship Manager, Shelly-Ann Curran.

Let there be confetti... Harris, Camaley and Lady Rennae celebrate Harris' win - and the end of another Rising Stars season


AWARDS SEASON WATCH: Eye on ACTOR BOY hopefuls…

GOSSIP GIRLS: Rishille Bellamy-Pelicie (left) and Marguerite Newland share office 'news' in Appropriate Behaviour.

Here’s a quick look at 8 potential Actor Boy sure-shots heading into the 2010-11 awards season:

MAYLYNNE WALTON in ‘White Witch’: A compelling, thoroughly winning turn from Walton as the notorious title character, Annie Palmer of Rose Hall, that ranks in the upper echelons (among After Mrs. Rochester, Uptown Bangarang) of Walton’s most outstanding performances. From the TALLAWAH review: “…Walton is congenially brilliant as the widely misunderstood she-devil. There’s as much flair, grace and elegance as there is meanness, treachery and shamelessness in her character, based on Walton’s portrayal.”

NOELLE KERR in ‘White Witch’: As the strong-headed, lovesick Millie, Kerr radiated magical charm and utter conviction, offering a truly memorable supporting turn. From the TALLAWAH review: “…the real revelation is Noelle Kerr, who offers an incandescent and thoroughly award-worthy turn as the sweet and gentle Millie, a girl who bravely chooses to follow her heart.”

RISHILLE BELLAMY-PELICIE in ‘Appropriate Behaviour’: Pelicie gave new meaning to scene-stealer in a performance that not only stood out but kept the interest of viewers sharply focussed on the storyline. From the TALLAWAH review: “Pelicie comes very close to stealing the show with her utterly fascinating turn as the bespectacled Miss Patience.”

NADEAN RAWLINS in ‘Against His Will’: Rawlins’ strong-willed, brilliant Rachel Robinson served the actress’ gifts remarkably well, thrusting her fully into award-worthy territory yet again. From the TALLAWAH review: “… noteworthy…Rawlins is back in fine form, fully disappearing into Rachel Robinson. It’s a role Rawlins was born to play.”

CHRIS McFARLANE in ‘Appropriate Behaviour’: McFarlane seemed ideally cast as the arrogant (and 'fed-up') office alpha-male, a part that could have come off as just another angry Black man, but in McFarlane’s command the character rises above the clichés. From the TALLAWAH review: McFarlane’s Horace, in particular, is cleverly portrayed and commands attention as the office loudmouth and bully with a gambling addiction.”

JERRY BENZWICK in ‘Against His Will’: Major props are due to Benzwick for a committed, intense portrayal of quite a ‘unique’ central male character. Superbly executed character choices make him one of the early frontrunners in the lead-actor race. From the TALLAWAH review: In the central male role, Benzwick’s performance is revelatory and speaks to his innate gifts as an actor as he imbues Danny with rich nuance and emotional transparency. Benzwick has never been better.”

PHILLIP CLARKE in ‘White Witch’: Clarke seems assured a spot in the supporting-actor category following his masterful (and intimidating) portrayal of a witch doctor in, er, White Witch. From the TALLAWAH review: “[Clarke is] terrific.”

DENISE HUNT in ‘Second Chance’: In the wake of her stunning portrayal of an alcoholic mother grappling with complex domestic issues, no one would be surprised if Hunt ends up with a best-actress bid. From the TALLAWAH review: “Hunt is a spark-plug that burns a hole in the stage… She conveys Nicky’s weaknesses and desperation with an authenticity that is truly something to behold.”


DANGER AND DESIRE: Maylynne Walton (right) and Noelle Kerr chew scenery with Keiran King in White Witch.