THE PLAY'S THE THING: The School of Drama delivered a splendid take on Errol Hill's classic about dashed hopes and dreams deferred.
From Persian queens to ambitious go-getters in search of a better life, from conflicted lovers to long-lost relatives mending fences, the best plays of the past year were rich in character, high in entertainment value and replete with strong messages. Herewith, TALLAWAH highlights (in no particular order) the cream of the crop – the 10 best theatrical productions we saw in 2017.
MOON ON A RAINBOW SHAWL
The School of Drama did remarkable justice to this Errol John classic, capturing the angst and anxiety, poverty and struggle for prosperity, of the period. The sharp student actors delivered committed performances all around.
WHITE SKIN, BLACK HEART
Interracial romance, pride and prejudice and revenge served cold created a spiky blend in this edge-of-your-seat domestic drama, written and directed by David Tulloch, and offering a solid breakout turn from newcomer Kim Rubie.
RIGHT GIRL, WRONG ADDRESS
There were no mixed messages in this well-made comedy-drama from Patrick Brown, who offered loyal Jambiz audiences a thought-provoking and amusing meditation on ambition, deception and ghetto pressures. Pitch-perfect.
Basil Dawkins harked back to dem good ole days in this richly entertaining four-hander about fractious family dynamics and picking up the pieces. Ruth HoShing sizzled as an unhinged matriarch and Earle Brown was spot-on as a cantankerous widower whose idyllic country life is disrupted.
DAT A GWAAN JAMAICA
Few playwrights know Jamaica as well as Dahlia Harris, who penned, directed and co-starred in this winner – a clever and wickedly funny sketch-comedy revue that strikes all the right notes.
Adulterous relations bring tonnes of baggage, as the secret lovers are minded in this sturdy domestic drama-comedy about choices and consequences. Under direction from the dynamic duo of Patrick Brown and Trevor Nairne, Sakina Deer delivered some of the best work of her career, opposite Courtney Wilson who was in fine form as a prominent figure who breaks his marriage vows and is made to feel the heat.
SLICE OF LIFE
Rosie Murray was in her element as she dished up her experiences in this spicy one-woman show, recalling the girl she was and the woman she became. The stellar actress has had quite life, full of highs and lows, but she makes it clear that she has no qualms about sharing her testimony and her truth.
WAH SWEET NANNY GOAT
Some women are as old as they feel. Janet (an excellent Renae Williams) belongs to this category. She is the flawed, complex heroine at the centre of Fabian Barracks’ terrific play about mother-daughter dynamics, family secrets and teen pregnancy.
Great ensemble acting anchored this true-to-life dramedy (penned by first-timer Kevin Jones and directed by David Tulloch), which tackled office politics and sexual harassment, while putting a fresh spin on power and ego, betrayal and greed – and the workplace as battlefield.
The very accomplished team of Father HoLung (book and lyrics), Wynton Williams (music), Greg Thames and Hugh Douse (direction), Paula Shaw (choreography) and Nadia Roxburgh (lighting design) worked its signature magic tricks in bringing this action-packed Biblical saga to rousing life.