Sunday, 19 May 2013

SOUL REBELS: With Breadfruit, NoMaddz delivers an exuberant dub-rock emo-musical

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The bandmates take centrestage.

Breadfruit is the New Bread, Baby (NoMaddz Productions) 
Cast: Sheldon Shepherd, O'Neil Peart, Chris Gordon, and Everaldo Creary 
Venue: Theatre Place, New Kingston 

If nothing else, Breadfruit is the New Bread, Baby delivers undeniable proof that those NoMaddz know fully well how to put on an entertaining show. It helps, too, that they don't take themselves too seriously. Hence, the production, in spite of its structural flaws, is a hugely enjoyable, buoyant and utterly urgent affair that elicits lots of laughs and resounding applause. 

The boys pile on the jokes and solidly catchy tunes, drawing on the chemistry of brothers who've been supportive team-mates for ages. From the opening moments, the show's energy is insistent. And while I was left wanting a bit more meat than the show's standard poetry-music and comedic pleasures, one comes away from New Kingston's Theatre Place feeling a sense of satisfaction and restored faith in the power of cultural, youthful Jamaican entertainment. 

Breadfruit fuses elements of live music, social commentary, storytelling, rock-concert aesthetics, and even church and Louise Bennett dialects, to fashion a stirring (at times loud, other times tender and mellow) production full of vivid imagery -- a bakery setting, enormous breadfruit art, a perpetual flame -- and, yes, humour. 

It hardly takes 20/20 vision to realize that the band (comprised of Sheldon Shepherd, O'Neil Peart, Chris Gordon, and Everaldo Creary) has gone through some serious evolution over the course of the last five years. Who are they now? By all appearances, a cool and conscious aggregation of soulful brothers possessed of sly intelligence and rebellious tendencies, seemingly fuelled by wholly inspired Rastaman vibrations. 

As this new production proves, the NoMaddz still hold fast to thought-provoking lyrics, an unwavering message of social uplift, and a delightfully musical exploration of issues that remain blog-post current. Tyrone's Verdict: B-

>> Read more: Stars get a taste of NoMaddz' Breadfruit

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