Friday, 21 November 2014

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: Musings from the front-lines of modern Jamaican theatre

LEADING LADIES: We've long made no secret of the fact that we're huge admirers of Deon Silvera, the livewire actress who never fails to surprise, frequently lighting up the stage with her vivacity (Jamaica 2 Rahtid), sense of humour (Judgement) and expert comic timing (Back A Yaad). This December we expect her to deliver much of the same when she reteams with bonafide theatre sister Dahlia Harris, alongside living legend Volier 'Maffie' Johnson, for Ole Firestick, a three-hander of a romantic comedy to be mounted inside a Kingston venue to be announced in short order. The show will mark Silvera's umpteenth collabo with Harris, whom we are happy to report, is fully focussed on helping to usher Jamaican theatre into a bold new chapter. With her immense clout and the ever-widening ambition of her DMH Productions, there's much to look forward to.

HERE COMES TROUBLE: Easily one of the most avidly anticipated shows of the imminent holiday season, Bashment Granny 3 will have its big world premiere on Dec. 19 at the Green Gables Theatre, featuring a dizzyingly talented cast led by Keith 'Shebada' Ramsey, Terri Salmon, Garfield Reid and Junior Williams, among others. With showbiz mastermind Bunny Allen leading the charge, Stages and RBT Productions have already embarked on a major promo campaign aimed at attracting nightly sold-out audiences. It's been quite a few years since the original Bashment Granny (with Maxwell Grant in the lead) and its laugh-out-loud Part 2 etched their collective place in the consciousness of the theatre-going public. Folks have been clamouring for more ever since. It's not immediately clear what accounted for the long delay in rebooting the rootsy franchise, but we understand that a movie version was in the works, with plans for its debut in the local cinemas. It remains to be seen if that will come to light. For the time being, devoted fans of the Bashment Granny series remain intrigued to see what Shebada and his motley crew are up to this time around.

THE BEST OF HIM: Local roots theatre aficionados have lost one of their favourite entertainers, with the sudden passing of cross-dressing actor Cleve 'Chu Chu' Warren, who died on Thursday at the St. Ann's Bay Hospital, where he was taken after complaining, reportedly, of feeling dizzy. He was 46. Here at TALLAWAH, we are indeed saddened by the news and offer our sincere condolences to his relatives and friends. A bonafide star of the stage, Chu Chu had natural comedic flair and understood the healing power of laughter, clearly relishing nothing more than to give the people what they want - often sending us rolling in the aisles with his side-splittingly funny punchlines. For all he brought to Jamaican theatre during his brief time with us, we want to say thank you, thank you. 

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