It has been well over a decade since Playwright/Producer Oliver Mair mounted his last theatrical production, the revue “Tek Dat Ting” (2000). However, August 1, 2014 will mark the return of this award winning playwright and producer to the local theatre landscape. He will be making his comeback with the collaborative musical revue “Laff It Off.”
At the media launch at the Phillip Sherlock on Wednesday, July 23, Mair commented, “Laff It Off, is the right vehicle to get me back in this area because I am surrounded by some amazing talents who are working with me to present this fearless and hilarious take on what is happening on the Jamaican social, political and cultural landscape. The revue is one of my favourite theatrical genres because it utilises all aspects of the performing arts and allows for us to be topical, satirical and comical which is an excellent recipe for an evening of great entertainment. In fact, we even have a skit about the Hon. Damion Crawford, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment who incidentally is the Patron of this production,” he concluded.
Director, Craig McNally in talking about the creative process involved in mounting such a diverse production filled with multiple skits, music, dance numbers and audio visual backdrops echoed Mair’s sentiment that “Laff It Off” is going to be high entertainment because “nothing has been left to chance. The team that has been assembled for this production was chosen because of their diverse and mastery of particular areas. This team includes multiple award winning Choreographer, Michael Holgate, multiple award winning lighting designer, Nadia Roxburg, award winning choir director, Hugh Douse who is working alongside musical director Dalton Spence” McNally stated.
Based on the three excerpts that were presented during the launch, nothing has been left to chance with the cast either. During the operatic high drama of the number “JPS”, broadcasters and Television hostesses, Simone Clarke-Cooper (TVJ) and Patria-Kaye Aarons (CVM), demonstrated impressive vocal ranges and the comedic skills of Russhaine “Dutty” Berry (in is theatrical debut) as the choir director had the audience in stiches. Jamaican television icon, Mark “Bones” Martin (well-loved for his role as JLM Bones III from Lime Tree Lane) and prolific young actor, Akeem Mignott were hilarious as Officer Spellman and the speeding motorist respectively. The final excerpt was a musical ode celebrating former Minister of Security and Justice, KD Knight’s prowess as a lawyer, in “Get KD”, Martin as a jail warden, in song, advices inmates Buju (played by actor/broadcaster Rodney Campbell), Vybes Kartel (played by Akeem Mignott) to ‘get KD” if they want to be freed like Busy (played by Russhaine “Dutty” Berry). Rounding out the cast are actress/singer Christina Starz and comedienne/musician Dalton Spence.
Laff It Off will run for two weekends only, August 1-3 & 8-10 at the Phillip Sherlock Theatre.