Wednesday, 17 June 2020

THEATRE REVIEW: Tulloch’s Prayer Partner remount packed with lessons, laughs and family drama

PLAYING HOUSE: Castmates in one of the funnier scenes from the production.

Prayer Partner (Probemaster Productions)
Director: David Tulloch
Cast: Donald ‘Iceman’ Anderson, Ricky Rowe, Sashana Lamont, Dacoda Mitchell and David Tulloch 
Venue: Phoenix Theatre, New Kingston

GIRLS growing up with single fathers often fall into one of two categories: pampered daddy’ princess or victim of an overprotective military officer. The life of Danielle Jackson (newcomer Sashana Lamont is fascinating combination of the two. 

The central character in David Tulloch’s revival of his amusing and thought-provoking play Prayer Partner, Danielle adores and respects her pop (Donald Anderson bravely tackling the role of a patriarch, but on the other hand she’s often frustrated by his stern rules, especially those concerning who she can and cannot date.

That said, Mr. Jackson is not a fan of Giovanni (Ricky Rowe), the playboy with the sweet talk and slick moves that Danielle has been seeing lately. Mr. Jackson would rather see his daughter spending time and later walking down the aisle with her friend Peter (Tulloch), a shy nerd who’s just returned from overseas.

Peter has always had the hots for Danielle, but tongue-tied doesn’t even begin to describe his attempts at ‘making the move.’ But he knows what he wants. When an opportunity presents itself for Peter to cross-dress and land a job as Danielle’s prayer partner/housekeeper he jumps at it.

Things get complicated super-fast when the prayer partner network sends along the all-fired-up Sister Grace (Dacoda Mitchell, strong), who doesn’t hesitate to square off against this curious individual with the high-pitched voice named Peter-Gaye.

Will Peter’s plan to win Danielle’s heart bear fruit? Or will Giovanni’s loverboy routine still prevail? In any case, to say that Danielle’s world gets turned upside down is a massive understatement.

You always want to judge the remount of a play on its own merit, but one can’t help but draw comparisons to its previous incarnations. In this case, Prayer Partner stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its predecessors, minor shortcomings aside.

The performances are on-point, especially Mitchell and Tulloch, whose Peter-Gaye scenes never fail to raise the play’s humour quotient.

The show’s set and lighting design are rather low-key, but this in turn allows the comedy and the cast chemistry to seize the spotlight.

Among the most memorable and engaging works in the David Tulloch canon, Prayer Partner offers audiences a great blend of laughs, lessons and family drama. Tyrone’s Verdict: B+

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