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Posted by : RodDungate on Feb 18, 2017 - 12:55 PM London
London.
NEW NIGERIANS
By Oladipo Agholuaje.
3Stars ***

Studio 1, The Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL to 11 March 2017.

Mon – Sat 8pm Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 1hr 40 mins No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7503 1646.
www.arcolatheatre.com
Review: William Russell 17 February.


A funny biting satire on politicians and ploys


Greatness Ogholi is trying to set up a coalition which will result in his becoming president of Nigeria. He is helped by his second in command Chinasa, a rumbustious no holds barred feminist who likes her drink too much. They need to persuade Danladi Musa, leader of a politically very different party, to join them if they are to win the prize and compromises must be made. The world of politics in Nigeria may well be wild and corrupt just like here, although when you get down to it are probably no different from anywhere else. This is a gloriously funny satire about how to get to the top and stay there, who to abandon along the way, who to beware of as they might in turn abandon you, and when to make the best of a bad job and get on with living.

Patrice Naiambana plays Greatness, a hunk of a man blessed with charm who confides in the audience as he goes about his politicking, to the manner born. Tunde Eubar and Gbemisola Ikumelo play all the other roles with great style and versatility.

The evening is funny, Agboluaje hits home at the vanity of those who would lead, questions their motives, and looks at how those who are in it for themselves will stoop to anything to get what they want.

The only problem is that for a while at least the Nigerian accents are difficult to penetrate – one is in the same state as one would be listening to a play in Glaswegian or Geordie were you not born and bred in Glsgow or Liverpool.

Eventually the ear gets accustomed to the speech and the play takes wing. This may be insoluble, and while it is tricky, it does not distract from the power or pleasures of the evening.

As for the cast, Naiambana is a magnificently ingratiating would be president, while Eubar is chillingly nasty as the industrialist whose support is vital and whose price is high. As for Ikumelo, she makes a wonderfully randy, boozy would be vice President, who is not above stooping to conquer, and is impressive as Greatness’s estranged wife and the waitress who serves the trio as they plot.

Tunde Euba: Danladi Musa/ Comrade Edobor.
Gbemisola Ikumelo: Chinasa Umezurike/Grace/Waitress.
Patrice Naiambana: Greatness Ogholi.

Director: Rosamunde Hutt.
Design: Jemima Robinson.
Lighting Design: Richard Williamson,
Sound Design: Chris Drohan.
Costume Design: Kate Royds.
Assistant Director: Richard Speir.
 
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