Wednesday, 2 October 2013

EIGHT BY TEN FESTIVAL: Emotionally rich plays (with squabbling lovers, tearful unions) highlight Night 2

FRIENDS & FAMILY: Solomon (left) and HoShing as long-time besties in Anything For You. Below, McDonald and Edwards star in Fences.

The Naked Wall (by Amba Chevannes)
With solid performances, Shawna-Kae Burns, theatre's It girl of the moment, and stage veteran Melward Morris firmly anchored Chevannes' stirring portrait of two bickering lovers grappling with the meddling residual effects of relationships past, lovers come and gone. The soft focus on photography/wall art contributed an artsy/inspired touch. Movingly directed by Nadean RawlinS. B+

Anything For You (by Cathy Celesia)
Equal parts tart and tender, this smashing delight of a miniplay (centred on friendship, marriage and sexuality), helmed by Jean-Paul Menou, reminded us that Ruth HoShing (high-powered Gayle) and Makeda Solomon (timid Lynette, "I need to have an affair.") are two of the most skilful and subtle Jamaican actresses working today. A-

Daddy (by Fabian Thomas)
Extracted from Sankofa's 2011 patchwork Tapestry (dealing with family and second chances), a terrific vehicle for Maurice Bryan, convincing as a long-lost father who touchingly reunites with his young son (Darian Reid), which underscores the idea that it's never too late for a second act. B

Wall No. 6 (by Nelson Rodrigues)
Flying solo, Chantalla Griffiths lets it all out (deafening screams, frantic movements) in this spectral, Trevor Nairne-directed look at madness and memory. Unevenly performed by beautifully lit. B-

It's Raining (by Sophie Aguille)
Alwyn Scott and Menou make like a pair of denizens out of something by Samuel Beckett in this rib-tickling send-up of complex simplicity and brilliant absurdity. Naturally, Pierre LeMaire, well-known for his mastery of this style of theatre, deftly directed. A

Fences (by August Wilson)
Indisputably the night's most delightful surprise, a compellingly acted excerpt from Wilson's American stage classic, with the Independent Actors Movement's Sabrena McDonald and Tesfa Edwards throwing themselves into the roles of Troy and Rose, a middle-aged Black couple struggling to realize the American Dream. Damion Radcliffe directed. B+

Trapped (by Amba Chevannes)
A beautiful young couple (Jessica Reddick and Carl Carram) mull over the complicated hand life has dealt them in this spare, reflective piece directed by Michael Daley, who is fast emerging as a great director of young talent (witness his fine work with Shanique Brown amd Martin Thame in last year's role-reversal dramedy Forever Blue. B

Death Comes To Us All, Mary Agnes (by Christopher Durang)
Though well anticipated, Mary was a no-show. So, too, Jerry Benzwick, who the programme identified as director. Maybe next time around. (Photos: Susumba)

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