Wednesday, 4 April 2018


By Margaretta wa Gacheru (3 April 2018)

Tonight, Nairobi is about to witness the premiere of two new theatrical productions, one a musical, the other a straight play. They’ll be staged by two brand new theatre troupes which are about to prove it’s not only Kenyan filmmakers who are enlivening the cultural scene; thespians are doing it too.
At Kenya National Theatre, Regina Caeli Arts will present a new musical production of ‘Viper in my Nest’ starring Lwanda Jawar. It runs from tonight from 6pm through Sunday. I gather they’re a Christian theatre company so it’s likely to be a musical version of a morality play.

Meanwhile, at Michael Joseph Centre, Mbeki Mwalimu directs her new theatre company, Back to Basics in a brand new script written by the multi-talented Justin Mirichii, based on a concept that Mbeki conceived.
‘Strangers by Blood’ costars Nick Ndeda, Bilal Mwaura, Gilbert Lukalia, Mary Mwikali and Alison Nyawira.  

Then once Nick and Bilal complete their run at MJC, they’ll head over to Kenya National Theatre the following Wednesday where they’ll be back with Martin Kigondu to restage his play ‘What Happens in the Night’. They’ll be acting with Shivishe Shivisi, Salim Gitau and Marianne Nungo (who costarred as Jo’s Mum in Likarion Wainaina’s award winning film ‘Supa Modo’). 

This time round, Prevail Arts Company is teaming up with Tash Mitambo’s Renegade Ventures to produce Martin’s original script. The two groups are collaborating in support not just for the show, but also to raise funds for their friend Jahmby Koikai who’s had to go for surgery due to a serious bout with endometriosis. We wish her well. Martin and Tash will donate half the proceeds from their one night performance to help with Jahmby’s hospital bills. These thespians’ philanthropy on behalf of their fellow creative should spur the rest of us on to attend the production. 

Meanwhile, Tash will be busy this weekend staging the Kikuyu version of John Sibi Okumu’s ‘Minister Karibu’ at the Kenya National Theatre annex. Tash also directed the English version of Sibi’s play so he clearly values the script and probably knows Kikuyu-speakers will also appreciate it. The fake minister will be played by Vehum Nderitu.
Meanwhile, Heartstrings opened last night in ‘Hit and Run’ at Alliance Francaise. The comedy will run through Sunday evening. 

Finally, Zippy Okoth restages her solo production, ‘Stranger in my Bed: from the Diary of a Divorced Woman’ next Friday and Saturday at PAWA254.

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