By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted 26 September)
‘Night, Mother’ wasn’t the only show to cope with depression last weekend. However, at Alliance Francaise, the Friends Ensemble’s ‘Prisoner in Us’ fortunately blended angst with boisterous, over-the-top madness to allow us to take Mel’s (Joe Kinyua) despair as a passing cloud.
Mel is desperate, having lost his job after working there for many years; but he’ll eventually bounce back. He has to, after his devoted wife Edna (Mwajuma Belle) returns to work in his stead but then gets laid off herself.
In the interim, Mel’s siblings show up, headed by Harry (Sam Psenjin) accompanied by his three sisters. Harry genuinely wants to help Mel get back on his feet; the sisters not so much. They don’t like Edna and apparently the feeling is mutual.
In the end, what we find in ‘Prisoner in Us’ is that depression can be overcome when there’s communication and trust among friends. Edna does it for Mel and he in turn does it for her. Each is able to break through the other’s despair with a bundle of tender loving care.
It was good to see Kinyua and Psenjin back on stage as they’ve been off making movies and hit TV shows. They’ve promised to be back on stage soon, which is good to know.
Meanwhile, this is the last weekend to see ‘Tinga Tinga Tales the Musical’. The shows may be already sold out but it’s worth getting on a waiting list just to see this glorious extravaganza of music, light, dancing and delightful stories all based on African folklore.
It stars an outstanding, multitalented Kenyan cast including Eric Wainaina, who composed all the music. Soon to be heading to New York’s Broadway stage at the New Victory Theatre, no theatre-lover should miss this production. It’s supposedly meant especially for children, but it’s such an upbeat, professional show, no adult should miss it if you can help it.
This Saturday will also see the Dance Centre Kenya staging a newly choreographed production, entitled ‘Freedom’. Directed by Cooper Rust, DCK’s founder-artistic director, the show will be on at GEMS International School from 7pm.
That same day, Kenya’s Slam Poetry champion Kikete F.M will perform at Goethe Institute with the Dash Band from 3pm. The show’s entitled ‘Maybe You will Relate’. Kikete will then represent Kenya at the World Cup of Slam Poetry in Chad.
Finally, Heartstrings returns next Thursday to Alliance Francaise in ‘Last Man Standing’.