Thursday, 18 February 2016

CRITICS’S NOTEBOOK: Limited runs hampering local plays + 2016 Actor Boy Awards get a date + Introducing GiRL

FITS & STARTS: Last month, we lamented the brief run that the excellent little comedy-drama Same Difference (from writer-director-producer Dahlia Harris) had at the Karram Speid Auditorium, Merle Grove High, due to space shortage in the corporate area. But, alas, a silver lining. Thanks to rehabilitative work on the Theatre Place (now called the Phoenix Theatre), more audiences will get to see the play (starring Volier Johnson and Deon Silvera) as it is now set to enjoy a longer run that could last well into the Easter holidays.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the same can be said for Mama Take Me to Church, a faith-based domestic drama that ran for a few days at the Hope Road-based YMCA last week. The production, featuring legendary leading lady Dorothy Cunningham, above, (and produced by Andrew Roach) is yet another show local critics never got a chance to review due to its limited stint at the venue. All this only serves to underscore a point made by Johnson in a recent TALLAWAH interview that, given the dearth of theatre houses and art spaces in Kingston, producers will simply have to get more creative and resourceful when it comes to mounting productions that will secure sizeable audiences. Time have changed. You hope for the best, but it’s wise to expect the worst.

THAT TIME OF YEAR: The big winners of this year’s Actor Boy Awards will be revealed when the prize ceremony takes place at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Monday, April 4. Now 22 years old, it’s the annual shebang where the theatre industry pauses to recognize the excellent work of the past year and acknowledge the crème-de-la-crème performers. The diligent Maurice Bryan, who is coproducing the show once again, tells TALLAWAH that the judges are currently finishing up their tallies so that the complete list of nominees will be ready for announcement come this month-end.

OOH, GIRL!: The performance that actress-singer Shanique Brown gave as Mario Evon’s opening act at Stages of Love on Saturday was one of luminous brilliance. Brown, who now goes by the stage name GiRL, was her usual jazzy-mellow self, channeling her inner neo-soul queen as she belted out tunes like original cuts “Check Fi You” and “Nobody Wins” – and breezy rendition of Laura Izibor’s breakout hit “If Tonight is My Last.” As an emerging talent, the twentysomething singer is still a work-in-progress. But soulful eloquence is what springs to mind when you hear GiRL, who tunefully comes across as the love child of Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton.

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