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A wife (Maryanne Nyambura) to an aspiring governor is set to be away from home for two weeks. As she leaves, both her and her husband have a reason to celebrate: they are best placed to win the coveted public office because their family “has no scandal’.

Goodbyes are said and the husband (Maina Ndambiri) calls his mistress (Gathoni Njuguna) and since she is not available on phone he decides to indulge in the services of a professional hooker, Tiffany (Wanjeri Wainaina). After his call, his chief strategist and running mate (Pablo Kimani) arrives with aspiring women representative (Mercy Thairu). Things go haywire when the call girl and the mistress arrive and the integrity of the aspiring governor is in doubt. The women representative sees this as a moment to step up to being governor herself. The strategist tries to create a scandal to crash her hopes and calls a male stripper (Duncan Murunyu) to try woo her. The woman of the house comes back to a chaotic house and the men try keeping all under wraps to a hilarious outcome.

That is how the action was in Fanaka arts’ year opener at Alliance Francaise in the last weekend of January. Those in attendance were treated to a beautiful set, a nice story line and good acting. Being a comedy we can also say that the audience laughed and that was a good deal.

Of particular note was the lady who played the women representative. She was the most hilarious in the play and the audience sat up whenever she came on stage. She handled her role so well that even for those like myself who had never seen her on stage before, she looked like a veteran. Her flair and dignified presence was a pleasure to watch. She managed to stay beautiful even when fully dressed. Even when she was supposedly stripped and only wrapping herself in a bed sheet she was decent and respectable. Her delivery was also on point.Mercy is set to be a name to reckon with in theatre and I hope to see her in many more plays this year.

Dignity, respect, and decency can however not be used in the same sentence as Wanjeri or Murunyu. Wanjeri who is a veteran actor fell into a trap many veteran actors tend to fall into especially when staging a comedy. The desire to “shine” usually makes one to be so anxious to make the audience laugh that they might forget they are not the stars of the show. In a desperate attempt to elicit laughs, an actor might even throw self-respect to the dogs. The director (Lawrence Murage) could have wanted Wanjeri and Murunyu to look like real strippers but they forgot that by the end of the day it is still a show. People who watch the shows are parents too and I can imagine a youngster telling them they’d like to join theatre arts. The response could most probably be, “Aii hapana!Unataka kwenda kutoa nguo mbele ya watu?”. In future the director should think of ways to portray such characters while maintaining the dignity and respect for theatre arts. A comedy show should not be a strip show, otherwise Ezekiel Mutua will be on our necks very soon.

Maina Ndambiri executed his role well. He never disappoints and in theatre there is a saying that, “Maich hukufa na show”. This show was no different. He carried it on his shoulders. His efforts also motivated everyone else he was on stage with. His great performance was almost derailed though when Nyambura kissed him full on the lips. I don’t know what that was supposed to portray but we need to know how far we can push the limits. Beyond that, there isn’t much to say about Nyambura other than she handled the role of wife well. She was under no pressure to make people laugh and she knew her place in the story. Her decency in word and deed showed a mature actor out to give her best.

Pablo Kimani manages to be composed on stage while delivering his lines smoothly. His combination with Maich brought out the best of him. I think it is time for him to be trusted with a lead role. There were other players in the story and since I am only writing what I saw, I will not say much about them because I never felt their presence.

This was a nice show. The director needs to learn more on what it exactly means to have an ADULTS ONLY show. This is Kenya, this is Africa. We need people to respect our art and our actors. Stripping is not one way to earn that respect. Siyo lazima tuvue nguo ndiyo tuchekeshe. Congratulations to the whole team for giving their audience value for their money.




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