Posts Tagged ‘Dawn Walton’

This is accurately billed as a cross between The Cosby Show and restoration comedy. Director Dawn Walton’s decision to stage it as a TV sitcom recording – countdowns to the start, large red ‘On Air’ sign, actor introductions to canned laughter – is a good one as it makes this 30 year-old Don Evans play more acceptable for a modern audience.

Black middle-class social climbers Myra (complete with malapropisms in keeping with the billing) and Avery’s lives are turned upside down by their son’s relationship with a girl from the wrong side of town and a visiting teenage relative’s dubious relationship with club owner Caleb, now her guardian following the death of her father / his boss.

It’s a light romcom with a touch of period satire, but it’s performed with much brio in a cartoonish Carry On style. The acting is sometimes too broad (Jocelyn Jee Eslen’s Myra and Isaac Seebandeke’s as her son Felix) but it’s often laugh-out-loud funny. I particularly liked both of Jacqueline Boatswain’s turns as hairdresser Mozelle and much older mum Mrs Caldwell.

Libby Watson’s two room set looks like they didn’t measure the space first as it spills over left and right of the side seating, but it’s crucial to both the period feel and the TV recording concept.

It’s clearly attracting an appropriately diverse audience and, though not produced by it, suggests that there will be room for lighter fare at the Tricycle under its new artistic director. Harmless fun and a fascinating peek at early 80’s black American writing.

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