Monday, 3 January 2011

THEATRE REVIEW: Hoilett, strong cast do justice to Sharkey’s ‘I Take This Man’

STRANGE SITUATION: A bizarre sequence of events unfolds in Sharkey's I Take This Man.

I Take This Man (Hoilett Productions)
Director: Pablo Hoilett
Cast: Terri Salmon, Keiran King, Clive Duncan and Keneisha Bowes
Venue: Theatre Place, New Kingston

Tyrone’s Verdict:

The popular saying “finders keepers, losers weepers” might very well be Giddy Holness’ favourite. It’s an axiom she takes entirely to heart and insists on applying to all facets of her life. Please pay keen attention to her name.

A chirpy middle-aged woman (an assistant zoo keeper) hampered by loneliness and fantasies of a romantic dreamboat one day sweeping her off her feet, Giddy (Terri Salmon) can hardly believe her good fortune when she stumbles upon a handsome (and scantily clad!) man lying unconscious on the streets of New Kingston on a particularly active public holiday; an annual marathon is underway and 'John Doe' (who Giddy later christens as her Italian stud, Antonio) is suspected to have been a participant whose stamina failed him. With the help of an unwitting cop, she takes the unconscious man, her unexpected prize, back to the apartment she shares with her good girlfriend Charlene (Keneisha Bowes), who is understandably dumbfounded by her friend’s actions.

Is Giddy simply a desperate and love-sick soul or a seriously unhinged loony in need of psychiatric attention? (Or both?) Those questions and many others lurk at the centre of I Take This Man, director Pablo Hoilett’s amusing and well-acted adaptation of Jack Sharkey’s admirable two-act comedy. The first few minutes of the Hoilett production are particularly grating and hinder the show from taking off early. Before long, however, as the actors begin to settle into their roles, the whole thing evolves into wonderfully clever, hilarious entertainment with a handful of delightful surprises in store.

A competent comedic actress, Salmon’s trademark vivacity threatens to eclipse the production, especially in scenes that demand high energy and rapid-fire dialogue as a plan is frantically hatched to make Antonio fall in love with Giddy. Salmon shines most, though, when required to dial back the bubbly personality and display some degree of susceptibility. As for the rest of the cast, great support comes from talented newbie Bowes and a superb Clive Duncan, who gives a very natural and controlled performance as Charlene’s agitated fiancé, who is reluctantly caught up in the madness.

But the most impressive turn comes from the gangly Keiran King, who courageously spends the greater part of the show as the central male figure, Antonio, the mystery man, with his privates prominently displayed in a pair of flattering red mantights. If King’s performance is to be believed, he is a man entirely at ease with his lanky physique.

Far-fetched as its premise might seem, I Take This Man is a completely plausible tale, spun with humour, dramatic irony and a touch of serendipity. The lighting is frequently gorgeous and Giddy’s tastefully embellished apartment makes for appealing set décor.

Fresh, buoyant and unreservedly enjoyable, I Take This Man is a funny little surprise.

YOU'RE GONNA LOVE ME: Duncan, Salmon and King share a scene from I Take This Man.

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