Boxing Day, (December 26) has long been the unofficial jump off for the local theatre season as it marked the official opening of The Little Theatre Movement’s annual Pantomime. However, over time, this date has come to represent the start of the entire theatre season with the ‘curtains’ being pulled back on a number of theatrical offerings. Based on the range and number of plays currently running, Kingston is living up to its’ self-proclaimed title as the theatre capital of the Caribbean.
A total of 30 plays were opened in 2013 including the eight currently running including the family staple, the National Pantomime which is enjoying its 72nd staging. This year’s production, The Golden MaccaFat has all the traditional highlights including script by Barbara Gloudon and set by Michael Lorde but is guided by a ¬¬new director, Pierre Lemaire who is a former alumnae of LTM Company and Assistant Director of the School of Drama.
Other principal theatre houses include Jambiz International and Basil Dawkins’ Production, both of which are serving up their own signature brand of entertainment. Jambiz’s latest play from playwright Patrick Brown is the hilarious If there is a Will there is a Wife which features an first-rate cast helmed by the unfalteringly solid Glen Campbell who plays a country bumpkin reminiscent of his days as “Titus” who has unexpectedly come into an enticing inheritance that attracts its own trials in the form of some very attractive and devious ladies. The cast is rounded out by Camille Davis, Sharee McDonald-Russell, Sakina Deer and Courtney Wilson.
Part of the charm and success of the annual Jambiz productions are the playwright, directors and actors abilities to capture a slice of Jamaican life and humanise it in a manner that is at once entertaining and accessible while still offering up a mirror into the human spirit. Playwright/Producer Basil Dawkins’ is also able to tap into the human psyche though he does so in a way that begs the resolution of a moral dilemma. His current production, My God Don’t Wear Pajamas comfortably straddles the genres of comedy and drama and promises to be a new classic from his repertoire. It features a critically acclaimed cast including Donald “IceMan” Anderson/Christopher Hutchinson, Ruth Ho-Shing/Hilary Nicholson and Zandrianne Maye.
Multi-talented thespian Dahlia Harris who has been fast establishing herself as not only an celebrated actress but also a formidable playwright and director continues her positive accent in this direction with her current play, To the Finish which features in the lead role, Julene Robinson, one of the strongest fines in the acting community in recent times. To the Finish cast also includes multi award winning actors Nadean Rawlins and Christopher McFarlane and Carl Samuels and Jerry Benzwick. To the Finish is an intriguing exploration of drugs in sports.
Playwright/Director, David Tulloch continues to churn out scripts at an inexhaustible pace. This season in partnership with RBT Productions, Tulloch has two plays running simultaneously at the Green Gables Playhouse. Jamaica Sweet is a musical revue featuring a stellar cast that includes, Michael “Stringbeans” Nicholson, Terry Salmon, Rosie Murray and Deon Silvera. Tulloch’s second script Clash delves into our dancehall culture and is helmed by Keith ‘Shebada” Ramsey and Volier ‘Maffi” Johnson.
Rounding out this season’s offerings is the King of Comedy Oliver Samuels’ Embassy Saga which also stars Audrey Reid and Dennis Titus. This production is being billed as a part of Samuels’ 65th birthday celebrations under the theme “In his Honour.”
The Paul Beale and Andrea Wright jointly penned University of Delcita which is running at the Pantry Tree House completes the 2013 theatre menu of laughter, drama, music, dance, political and legal intrigue, romance, sports, higher education and myths and legends. There is definitely a show or two to be enjoyed by everyone.