Wednesday, 1 October 2014

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: 'Mek Wi Laugh' heads centrestage + An emerging actress sizzles + Fairfield Theatre shining again

PUNCH LINES: Making good on her promise to bring the hit animated TV sketch comedy series Mek Wi Laugh to the Kingston stage, Lady Rennae has assembled an all-star cast and recruited A-list director David Tulloch to bring her one-of-a-kind vision to life. Actor Boy and Thespy winner Donald 'Iceman' Anderson, who earned raves for his brilliant turns in December's My God Don't Wear Pajamas, shares top billing with the likes of Rosie Murray (whose one-woman show has been shelved indefinitely), Christopher 'Johnny' Daley, Leighton Smith, and the inimitable Suzette Barrett (Pularchie), last seen bringing the heat in the prize-winning drama Thicker Than Water. As we all know, Lady Rennae's brand of humour is not for the faint-hearted — spiky, gut-busting stuff that effectively works as stand-up and animated comedy. So it will be interesting to see how this theatrical adaptation plays out. Jamaica Mek Wi Laugh premieres at the Green Gables Theatre on October 10.

SHE'S ALL THAT: In the riotous new comedy The Prophet, the most emotionally precise moments don't come at the hands of seasoned stars Keith 'Shebada' Ramsey and Garfield 'Bad Bwoy Trevor' Reid — or talented relative newcomer Marlon Brown. Instead, fast-rising leading lady Dainty Bellanfantie (certainly one to watch) delivers her performance as the beleaguered single mom Mercedes with such expressiveness, emotional depth and self-assured conviction that you immediately sense the artistic maturity she's been subjecting herself to of late. Then again, she might very well chalk up this amazing growth spurt to the influence of her competent colleagues, or a director (David Tulloch strikes again!) notorious for challenging his actors for the better. But whatever has catapulted this young actress (pictured above with costar Junior Williams) onto this fabulous evolutionary curve is now reaping the rich dividends.

WESTERN DELIGHT: Is the Fairfield Theatre making a comeback? By all appearances, the St. James-based house (nestled on a hill on the outskirts of Montego Bay) is experiencing a welcome rejuvenation spell, with the likes of Nadean Rawlins, Carla Moore and Dahlia Harris, among several other Kingston-based practitioners, joining forces to bring the energy and excitement of 'town' theatre to the MoBay masses. Harris' most recent work, Her Last Cry, having down the rounds here in the capital, is currently wowing audiences down there. No doubt Douglas Prout, a workhorse at Fairfield for years, is beside himself with gratitude for the little company as the theatre, which most famously spawned the record-setting musical drama White Witch in 2010, gradually inches its way back into the spotlight.

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