FORTUNE HUNTERS: Scenes from a play exploring ideas of greed, revenge and loyalty.
The best sequels tend to deliver vast improvements on the original, be it a box-office smash, a best-selling book or a hit stage play. The recently debuted Bashment Granny 3 is no superlative, but it certainly represents a solid addition to the groundbreaking roots series.
Bashment Granny and Bashment Granny 2 came off as rollicking and fast-paced crowd-pleasers laced with social commentary, intrigue and punchline-heavy dialogue. Number 3 is a similar kind of beast that finds its strongest asset in a combustible mix of laugh-a-line comedy and daring action sequences (some featuring moments of dramatic gunplay). Add to that themes ranging from greed and vengeance to family dysfunction and loyalties tested. And though the expected hiccups do manifest at intervals and the climax needs more work, the show flies sky-high in entertainment value.
When Jamaicans shell out their big bucks in support of comedies like these they expect non-stop laughter. In this case, that's where Keith 'Shebada' Ramsey comes in. Whether he's unwittingly causing a scene at Bashy's funeral (which opens the show), engaging in heated verbal exchanges with anyone within earshot, dancing up a storm to the latest dancehall tunes or scheming to get his hands on the millions everyone seems to be after, the actor makes no bones about riding it till the wheels come off.
Written by Paul O. Beale and directed by Bunny Allen, the story picks up where the last instalment left off. Fresh from prison, Trevor (Garfield Reid), armed and dangerous, is at his most ruthless hunting for his dead father's millions and other assets. But, in addition to Shebada, he'll have to get past the equally vindictive Half-A-Dog (Junior Williams) and his headstrong ride-or-die chick Simone (Monique Ellis), Bashy's former leading lady Pretty P (a terrific Terri Salmon) and a conniving lawyer (Luke Ellington) whose gift for gab can't mask his moral bankruptcy.
The head-scratching goings-on and shady characters (some more fully drawn than others) are one thing, but what truly sells Bashment Granny 3 are the often outrageous (read: funny-perverse) things these people have to say. So though it's thin on the meat, the play more than makes up for its shortcomings with a real gift of laughter to help us lighten the blues this holiday season. Tyrone's Verdict: B