Friday, 1 February 2013

SHOW STOPPERS: TALLAWAH’s Picks for the 10 Best Theatre Productions of 2012

IN LIVING COLOUR: Cast members in a scene from Glass Slippaz.

From bracing ensemble dramas and laugh-out-loud comedies to high-spirited musicals and coolly amusing revues – frequently boasting all-star appeal and well-executed staging – Jamaican theatre in 2012 for the most part delivered what good theatre anywhere should: worthwhile diversion and relevant, timely messages. Below, TALLAWAH outlines (in no particular order) the 10 best productions watched and reviewed in the past year. Curtains up! 

Glass Slippaz 
A deliriously funny Jamaicanized take on the classic Cinderella story from the prolific pen of Patrick Brown, anchored by solid performances from the likes of Donald Anderson, Sakina Deer and Glen Campbell, and excellently detailed technical work. 

God’s Way 2 
Absolutely riveting and packed with edge-of-your-seat twists and turns, and dialogue by turns gripping and humorous, this dramatic sequel provided gratifying roles for performers Carl Samuels, Nadean Rawlins, Ainsley Whyte, and writer-director-producer Dahlia Harris. 

Barbra Gloudon and a top-notch crew provide a refreshingly entertaining modern-day update of the 1989 original production, buoyed by youthful exuberance, a lively score, and delightfully catchy musical numbers. 

Showcasing a powerhouse central performance from Risanne Martin, it’s easy to see why this bruising look at sexual violence and oppression in the war-torn Congo (exquisitely staged by the School of Drama) is a past winner of the Pulitzer Prize. 

Easily the best show ever put on inside New Kingston’s superspacious Stages Theatreplex. A revival of the 80s hit, it delivered genuinely funny comedic content and provocative, occasionally shocking food-for-thought. 

The Messiah 
This latest blockbuster from Father HoLung & Friends had everything a great musical ought to deliver: rousing numbers, captivating performances, and a well-directed story to seal the complete package together.  

Fifty 2 Rahtid 
A hyper-energetic cast (led by Deon Silvera and Akeem Mignott) breathed memorable and full-bodied life into Aston Cooke’s vibrantly terrific musical-comedy revue, celebrating Jamaica’s Golden Jubilee. A superfun, well-made show. 

Stanley, Fay, Pularchie & P 
Superbly acted and deftly directed by Pablo Hoilett, this powerful ensemble drama won over nightly audiences with its wicked cocktail mix of desire, betrayal and cold vengeance. Wickedly entertaining. 

Mr. & Mrs. Blacke 
The A-list team of writer-actor Keiran King, Keisha Patterson, and director Paul Issa last summer offered Philip Sherlock audiences this exquisite take on a young Jamaican marriage on the rocks, framed within a gorgeous set and a sublime, upper-crust atmosphere. 

Wine & Roses 
This funny-fierce dramedy from the canon of David Tulloch satisfied with its undiluted look at youthful virility, cougars, and sex embedded within a fascinating look at marriage and the price of infidelity – even as it heralded the presence of a bonafide breakout star in Fabian Barracks.

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