Friday, 16 November 2012

BEST OF TALLAWAH 2012: High drama, big laughs at 45th anniversary of tertiary festival

RISING STARS: Five terrific theatrical pieces seized the spotlight at last Sunday’s Best of Tallawah inside UWI Mona’s Philip Sherlock Centre, blending youthful vim with winning stagecraft, and proving that, at 45, the annual tertiary drama festival/competition continues to unearth dazzling, new-generation talent. 

Man/Woman: A Real Problem: 
Employing six livewire performers (three males, three females), the group Rafiki's Man/Woman gave an amusing, hit-the-nail-on-the-head dub-poetry-infused take on intimate relationships, exploring the sting of infidelity, the pang of jealousy, and the joys of sweet romance. As real as it gets. B

For Willy (My Buddy): 
Flashback storytelling usually works best when the subject matter is not only richly appealing but also, at the very least, somehow relatable. Renee Williams shone in her involving performance of For Willy, an emotional monologue dedicated to a fallen buddy, laced with crafty innuendos that never failed to elicit peals of laughter from the rapt audience. B+

Village Mattaz: 
A dynamic potpourri of small-town gossip, hilarious family drama, and religious fervour saw the University Dramatic Arts Society (UDAS) winning over viewers with Village Mattaz, an arresting, sparingly staged dramatization of poems by Easton Lee. Overall, a lovely, familiar slice of rural Jamaica. A-

It Nuh Fare: 
The real thrill of the Harbour View Youth Club’s It Nuh Fare was to be found in how cleverly they took an everyday issue (economic woes) and spiked it with a healthy dose of dub and passenger-bus drama, resulting in a frequently rib-tickling lament referencing everything from bus-fare hike to political trickery, delivered by a vibrant cast. B-

With its starkly minimalist setting and infinitely energetic cast of players, the Jamaica Youth Theatre’s Bellywoman justified its Best Production cred by offering an engrossing, wittily spun tale of plantation slavery, jealousy, tense race relations, and star-crossed love that recalls the legend of Lover’s Leap. At the same time, the troupe manages to fashion vivid entertainment out of its series of curious Jonkanoo characters (Pitchy Patchy, Jack-in-the-Green, Policeman), lending the piece yet another brilliant dimension as a folkloric, well-acted slice of masquerade and mischief. A

Best In Show: Big wins for JYT, UDAS at Tallawah 2012

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