Apples From the Desert at Norfolk

(This review appeared in The East African 2nd-8th November 2013 under the title Apples from the Desert in Nairobi) At the Norfolk Hotel on Sunday 13th October, H.E. Ambassador Gil Haskel of Israel made an astute remark: he said that there isn’t a convergence of cultures that’s more poignant than what is found in theatre….

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French Elements

(This review appeared in The East African 26th October-1st November 2013) Elements, the new play by John Sibi-Okumu premiered at Alliance Française on 18th October 2013. As a Chevalier des PalmesAcademiques– an award given to him by the French government in 2002 for the promotion of French- it should probably come as no surprise that…

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Steel Magnolias at Phoenix

(This review appeared in The East African 5th-11th October 2013 under the title Comedy of Errors on Stage) Robert Harling’sSteel Magnolia,opened on Friday 20th September for a two-week run at Phoenix Theatre. Harling wrote the play in 1987 as a way of dealing with the pain caused by the death of his sister, who suffered…

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Adaptations On The Kenyan Stage: The Good, The Bad and the Very Good

(This article appeared in The East African 28th September-4th October 2013 under the title Adaptations Gone Bad) The term‘literary adaptation’, often refers to the transposition a work of art from one medium into another. More common nowadays are novel-to-screen adaptations but novel-to-stage adaptations still hold an important place in literary discourse. However, on a Kenyan…

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For Coloured Girls

(This review appeared in The East African 3rd-9th August 2013 under the title Young, Gifted, Black and Female) “I found God in myself and I loved Her fiercely,” is the mantra, sang in a cappella, that ends the performance of For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When The Rainbow is Enuf, by Ntokaze Shange,…

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The Meta- morphic and Elusive Kenyan Middle Class

While Seth Busolo’s Poison Ivy, which premiered at Alliance Française on 8th February, depicts the daily ordeals of a middle class Nairobi family, John Sibi-Okumu’s Meetings, which premiered at Phoenix Theatre on 15th February takes a macro view of the Kenyan middle class. Meetings, is very much like Sibi-Okumu’s first play, Role Play, in its…

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Whole- some Bourgeois Drama

(This review appeared in The East African 16th-22nd February 2013 under the title A Meddling Family and A Thankless Audience) Poison Ivy, Seth Busolo’s ninth full-length play, a Wholesome Entertainment production, directed by Pauline Komu, premiered at Alliance Française on Friday 8th February. However, it is not being a prolific playwright- nine plays in three…

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A Time When Theatre Sizzled: A tribute to Francis Imbuga

A slightly edited version of this feature appeared in The EastAfrican 8th -14th December 2012 under the title Betrayed by Politics Mulili: This, that even although majority lecturers at Kafira University be expatriate, that not his business. He go there to learn and not to criticise policy that he know nothing about. Mulili’s words in…

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The Maribor Theatre Festival 2012

(This review appeared in The EastAfrican 10th-16th November 2012) Click here to read my review and other critics’ reviews in the festival bulletin. The 47th Maribor Theatre Festival in Slovenia, described as “a brilliant projection of Slovenian theatrical essence,” ended on 26th October. Maribor, one of the two 2012 European capitals of culture, showcased a…

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Yet Another Prisoner of Second Avenue

(This review appeared in The EastAfrican 25th June-1st July 2012) For Better Or For Wife, the Friends Ensemble adaptation of Neil Simon’s Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971) opened to an impressively full house at the Wangari Maathai Auditorium at Alliance Française on 15th June for a run of 7 shows packed into three days. Directed…

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Phoenix Play Goes Up in Smoke

(This review appeared in The EastAfrican 18th-24th June 2012 under the title Make me a stiff drink, this play is insipid, shallow) Last weekend at Phoenix, curtains fell on yet another original Kenyan play about a politician. Smoke by Lui Nzomo, premiered at Phoenix Theatre on 25th May, directed by George Mungai and I managed…

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Fire By Ten

Kenyan Theatre in the Furnace (This review appeared in The EastAfrican 4th-10th June 2012) The disintegration of the values that held a society together notably in Europe has seen the rise of experimental theatre where the role traditional elements of theatre, especially the text and the performance space, have been challenged. In Kenya, and in…

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