Ricky Rowe is ready

Actor looks to the future

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Sunday, March 11, 2018

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Actor Ricky Rowe is one happy man.

He not only brings joy to his audiences with his brilliant comedic timing, but come March 26, the Portland-born, School of Drama-trained theatre practitioner will walk into the Actor Boy Awards at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel with two nominations. He has been recognised for his work in the hilarious revue Jamaica Sweeter by David Tulloch, for which he is nominated in the category for Actor in a Supporting Role. His second nomination — Actor in a Lead Role — is for his own production 4 Bulla & A Patty.

“It's a good look,” he declared to the Jamaica Observer. “Personally, because I have been out of local theatre circles for some time, it has been a process of working myself back into this space after being in England for a number of years. And while I am grateful for the two nominations, the recognition of 4 Bulla & A Patty is extra special. This is my production and I worked really hard to get it mounted, so this is like reward for the hard work that I put in on and off the stage.”

4 Bulla & A Patty is set in rural Jamaica and centres around the 'village lawyer', Maas John, who runs the shop in the community. He has had a crush on Miss Joyce for 35 years but despises her children, especially her son Romeo. Things reach a climax when his daughter from overseas visits and Romeo does what Romeo is known for. Maas John must draw on all his resources to prevent any coupling of his daughter and Romeo.

For Rowe, his time in the UK, away from local audiences, has only sharpened his performance skills. While in the UK he played with various theatre groups, entertaining audiences numbering in the thousands at famous theatres — from London in the south to Manchester in the North and cities in between such as Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds. He notes that while he is primarily known for his work in comedy here at home, that period stretched him to take on a variety or roles and characters.

“I love comedy, but I am an actor. In England I was doing Jamaican plays, yes, but I also did classics such as Treasure Island, a Jamaican version of Macbeth, and a mix of comedy and drama.”

“Ricky Rowe has something special to offer the world of theatre and I am just waiting for that space to open to take up my place. There are a number of talented actors in Jamaica, but I keep asking myself where is the next generation of actors. Who will take over from the greats such as Oliver Samuels, Glen Campbell, and others who have cemented themselves in the history of local theatre, television and on the big screen. I believe I am part of that new breed, the full package, who is waiting to fill those shoes,” Rowe related.

He however admitted that the Jamaican theatre space is a tough one and the pressing economic times do not make it any easier. But he remains undaunted.

“It is very difficult here in Jamaica. At the moment theatre is getting a beating. In order to do well, producers have to ensure that benefit performances are sold for there to be a reasonable turnaround; the walk-in theatre audience is really low. There is only one production house which can run a play from Tuesday to Sunday; others have to be content with the weekends. But I will keep pushing. I want to do television as well as films just get my work out there and more recognition,” Rowe said.

Ricky Rowe can currently be seen in the comedy Mature Attraction which is playing at the Phoenix Theatre in New Kingston.

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