THE EPIC ADVENTURE OF NHAMO THE MANYIKA WARRIOR AND HIS SEXY WIFE CHIPO
by Denton Chikura.
Tricycle Theatre 269 Kilburn High Road NW6 7JR To 24 August 2013.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Satr 3pm & 14 Aug 2pm.
Runs 1hr 25min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7328 1000.
Review: Francis Grin 5 August.
A comedic delight, certain to entertain.
What happens when British Panto and African story-telling mix? Apparently, something quite brilliant. The Epic Adventure of Nhamo the Manyika Warrior and his Sexy Wife Chipo, presented by Tiata Fahodzi, the African British theatre company, is one of those productions that would appeal to just about anyone.
With excellent comedic flair, first-time playwright Denton Chikura creates a piece of work which milks cultural stereotypes to their full satirical potential, producing something that not only entertains but also challenges the image of contemporary African and British art while we follow four characters as they produce the "next big African fable".
The production opens with a loud storm as The Narrator, played by Don Gilet, begs mercy to the "God of Storytelling". He has 24 hours to create "the greatest story ever told". Decked down in stylish clothes, The Narrator introduces us to what might be one of those most banal African fables ever told, a story about the warrior Nhamo, in his quest to find a wife who can "provide interesting conversation" and possibly "make him some rice and chicken". It’s the kind of story the Narrator claims could could be sold to ITV.
Its main protagonist ‘Nhamo’ (played by Ery Nzaramba), embodies the innocent and naive goat-herd, and walks through the show shirtless with the occasional accompaniment of a fake goat. His co-stars Chipo (played by Tanya Fear) and Commander Specimen (played by Nyasha Hatendi) are struggling actors, keen to compare drama schools and regurgitate The Stanislavski Method whenever possible.
The cast work together with excellent comedic timing, taking the simplest of lines and making them absolutely hilarious, while designer Ben Stones does an excellent job of making sure that it looks as though The Lion King has thrown-up on these characters; Chipo looks like a mix between Pocahontas and Lady Gaga, while Commander Specimen is covered in massage oil and dressed like a flamboyant Indian chief.
Director Lucian Msamati pulls the whole thing together by capturing the perfect balance between African and British comedy, creating a production that is a real melting-pot of the two.
Narrator: Don Gilet.
Nhamo: Ery Nzaramba.
Commander Specimen: Nyasha Hatendi.
Chipo: Tanya Fear.
Director: Lucian Msamati.
Designer: Ben Stones.
Lighting: Paul Keogan.
Sound/Composer: Helen Skiera.