Monday, 1 December 2014

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: A budding dramatic heroine zooms into sharp focus

SISTER ACT: Jackson (right) shares a moment with Bad Apple castmate Shauneca Woollery.

As far as classic Jamaican leading ladies go, Shantol Jackson has what it takes to become one of them. With her enormous talent, natural style and fierce chocolate beauty, the up-and-coming actress brings an exciting quality to the modern theatre scene that makes her a standout among such immensely talented peers as Julene Robinson, Noelle Kerr, Stephanie Hazle and Shanique Brown. 

As TALLAWAH readers already know, Shantol has a huge fan in Chris McFarlane, who recently singled her out for special mention among theatre's rising stars to watch. Taking in her stand-up-and-cheer performance in the teen drama Bad Apple at the Theatre Place, it wasn't hard to recognize the spark that Chris identified in her. 

Played with just the right touch of intensity and schoolgirl angst, Shantol's Apple is a poster child for the consummate good girl/bookworm/hopeless romantic who foolishly thinks with her heart instead of her heart and winds up falling prey to a ruthless monster. 

If you didn't catch November's remount, you missed one of the year's best productions as writer-director Fabian Barracks pulled off a triumph, thanks in large part to Jackson's laudable work in the female lead. Promising doesn't begin to describe what Shantol has. Though she's done bit parts in shows put on by the University Players and Tableaux, Bad Apple offered as solid showcase of her gifts and could provide the launchpad she's been waiting for. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: After a one-year break, Robert 'Bobby' Clarke is back with the Pantomime Company, calling the shots for this year's musical production, Princess Boonoonoonoos, written by Barbara Gloudon, with original compositions by Grub Cooper and costumes by Anya Gloudon-Nelson. The show opens Boxing Day (Dec. 26) at the Little Theatre in Kingston. 

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