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ENJA NDONYE- Fanaka’s comedy of convenience

BY MARYANNE NYAMBURA

Having had a busy weekend I decided to watch the last show of the run on Sunday at 8pm. ‘ENJA NDONYE’ I came having my mixed reactions on the title. I choose not to give the translation that stuck on my mind.

The poster.
The poster.

The play was set in a rather posh side of town with the kind of furniture in the room. The lady of the house, Felister with a V played by Fidelis Nyambura is a city council employee with one daughter. They have some financial constraints and the lady keeps pushing the daughter to get a job to supplement her meager earnings. Felister is a lovely old lady, who in most cases is used to push the humorous bit of the play. I got some few questions though, why was she old? What explains her being a mother to a teenage daughter?

The daughter, Cassie played by Gathoni Njuguna has a friend, Bonyonte, played by Wanjiru Kiarie who happens to be a neighbour and a school mate too. Bonyonte complimented Cassie well as she was the complete opposite of her. They get a plan to get male clients for personal leisure that in return would pay for the service. The two ladies almost killed the mood of the play by too much talk and very little activity. This was however felt throughout the play. Some stage business would do the play more life rather than too much talk and very little to do.They shop for the clothes and through social media platforms they choose to ‘market’ their services.

The first client is a man in his late 40s, Darling P played by Maina Ndambiri who has a health issue. He uses drugs to enhance his problem but in return they have a negative effect due to the overdose. My question would be, what Darling P took were flagyl’ pills, what was the purpose? From someone with an extra keen eye would think was the mistake on purpose? What I loved the most was the traditional dance by Darling P. It was unexpected, as Cassie tried the bad girl look, all black and the whip, he went all traditional.

In his reaction to the drugs, Cassie and Bonyonte thought it wise to let him get some fresh air from the balcony window. The coordination of sound when the balcony window was opened was great. The sound technician was on time every time the window was opened and closed.  Darling P jumped out of the window from their 3rd floor apartment. The two inexperienced girls are all scared because that would land them in jail for murder. Felister gets back just in time to witness what had happened.

The second client, General played by Fish Muthamaki comes in shortly after the jumping off the window. Fish has a really good rapport with the audience. He did very little to be felt. I could tell this from the reaction of the audience. They love him the most. My major concern was why was he General yet another time? I feel it’s time we lsaw Fish play a different character not General. As much as he didn’t disappoint with his character, a younger version of him would possibly have carried the show better.

The storyline was really great, and it did unfold in a really good way. I loved the tension when Darling P fell off the window. The tension was well created by Cassie and Bonyonte. If the two would make me laugh at such a point I would have been really be disappointed.

As the story unfolded came a journalist played by Lawrence Murage. His purpose was to cover the incidence. He was an unsettled character, which did enhance his main purpose to be here. He was a client in disguise and he was not necessarily interested in the story but his personal needs to be met.

Rating the show, I would give it 7/10. For the comical bit, the main scorers, Bonyonte, General, Felisters and Darling P did a good job. A question to think on though,if General and Felister were to get straight roles, would they get the comedy there or do they solely depend on the ‘guka’ and ‘shushu’ to drive the comedy not their personal effort? As of the straight role, Cassie did a great job. The tension on her face was great! She did carry the show in the right way. The journalist was hanging in the balance between a straight role and a comical one at the same time. He did try to strike a balance between the two. The twist in his character was convincing.

The final twist that Darling P was Cassie’s father, no!!! That was either for show or just a convenient way to end the show altogether. It felt like, ‘it’s time to end the show let’s drop the bomb shell!’ Once again, the title was for marketing purposes maybe because in  my two meanings of the title, none did apply.

To the whole team led by Fish Muthamaki, that was a great show! I hope to see more entertaining shows from Fanaka Arts. Looking forward to the next show.

 

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