Arts & Culture

Curtains open on theatre season

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 24, 2017

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The local theatre scene comes alive this season with a number of new productions taking to the boards in playhouses throughout the Corporate Area.

Producer David Tulloch kicked off the season last Friday with the opening of his musical revue Jamaica Sweeter, the sequel to his 2013 production Jamaica Sweet.

“It's sketches, comedy and original music about life in Jamaica. Jamaica Sweet, which we first did years ago, was deemed such a success that audiences kept requesting it. We have been doing it over the years and so decided to produce the follow-up. The new production is really pro-Jamaica, and given all the negatives in our society at this time, we really wanted to present something that allows audiences to fall in love with Jamaica all over again,” Tulloch told the Jamaica Observer.

For Jamaica Sweeter, which runs until January 7 at the Phoenix Theatre in New Kingston, Tulloch has brought out theatre veteran Terri Salmon. She joins talents Ricky Rowe, Luke Ellington, Sabrina Thomas, Samantha Brevett, and Derrick Clarke.

For the past 71 years on Boxing Day at 6 o'clock, the curtains open for a new national pantomime. This year is no different.

The Little Theatre Movement (LTM) — producers of the pantomime — will open Dapper Dan at the Little Theatre in St Andrew.

A release from the LTM notes that Dapper Dan, known as the Anansi man, is the hottest dance promoter in the land, but not everyone is comfortable with Dapper Dan's entrepreneurial spirit. The community police have their hands full with complaints about night noise. Dapper Dan has heard that in the overseas market. Always looking to make more money, Dapper Dan wants a piece of the action. With the help of Selector and Mama Blaze, auditions for a grand Dancers World Tour. How will it all work out? Will anyone dance abroad or will they have to dance a yard? Will Dapper Dan live up to his “Anansi Man” reputation?

Senior pantomime company members hold the lead roles — Ray Jarrett as Dapper Dan; Faith Bucknor as Supe; Kevin Halstead as Sarge; Latoya Newman-Morris as Elise; Shama Reid as Willy; Maxann Stewart-Legg as Mama Blaze.

Producers at Jambiz International have been following in the footsteps of the National Pantomime and over the years has also opened a production on December 26. This year it is Right Girl Wrong Address.

Jambiz principal Lenford Salmon explained that this production follows the company's tradition of using comedy as a vehicle to explore deeper issues in society.

“This one delves into the common societal prejudice which affects a number of persons in inner-city communities, as they are defined by where they are from geographically. The play follows Charmaine, a young girl from the ghetto who must use various devices to overcome the challenges,” said Salmon.

Right Girl Wrong Address plays at Centerstage Theatre in New Kingston and features the traditional Jambiz crew headed by Glen Campbell, Sakina Deer, Keneisha Bowes, Courtney Wilson, Sharee Elise, and Akeem Mignott.

Actress Andrea “Delcita” Wright has revived her granny character in a new production, Granny Del, which opens today. In addition to its run at Phoenix Theatre, Granny Del will take on a rural run to May Pen, Morant Bay, Mandeville and Savanna-la-Mar over the next two weeks.

On December 27, seasoned playwright and producer Basil Dawkins takes his latest work, Pressure Drop, to the stage at the Little Little Theatre. Directed by Douglas Prout, Pressure Drop features Ruth Ho Shing, Earle Brown, Maylynne Lowe, and Canute Fagan.

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