Mon | Apr 24, 2017

A near perfect theatre storm

Published:Tuesday | June 2, 2015 | 6:00 AMMarcia Rowe
A hair-raising moment in Hurricane Honeymoon.
Hilda (Natalee Cole) and John (Akeem Mignott) in a moment of forgiveness after the hurricane.
John (Akeem Mignott) and Hilda (Natalee Cole) in Hurricane Honeymoon.
John (Akeem Mignott) confronts Marley (Glen Campbell) in Hurricane Honeymoon.
1
2
3
4

Pathetic fallacy - the writing technique of attributing human emotions to objects that are not alive, animals, or events in nature - reigned supreme at Saturday's excellent opening night of Jambiz International Limited's latest production, Hurricane Honeymoon.

Along with the synchronisation of human emotions with the stormy weather, which is the play's background, Hurricane Honeymoon boasted a grand set and experienced minimal technical glitches. The directing was spot on and the cast of three in brilliant form.

Enjoying it all was a full house at the Little Theatre, Arthur Wint Drive, St Andrew.

The script is written by Jambiz's resident (and prolific) playwright, Patrick Brown. Once again, he has chosen to locate an entire story in a single setting, this time a honeymoon suite at Pleasure Beach Hotel, Montego Bay, St James.

The story begins with the arrival of two young honeymooners, Hilda (Natalee Cole) and John (Akeem Mignott) Charm. They have vastly differing perspectives on their accommodation, the scholarly looking John having a negative response.

John's secret

As the story progresses, each person realises the other has secrets, and their disparate views about the room are not the only differences between them. When Hilda learns of John's secret, her reaction, unlike his, amounts to a full-blown volcanic eruption.

Unable to return home due to the approaching Hurricane Herma, John and Hilda spend most of the three days venting their anger and frustration in unkind words, the interaction verging on violence while the winds howl outside. Caught in their mÍlÈe is hotel all-rounder Marley (Glen Campbell), who feels the brunt of the newlyweds' encounter.

Predictably, the story ends on a positive note - but with Marley giving the couples unflattering advice.

Central to the simple plot is infidelity, deception and forgiveness. The characters are forced to go through prolonged periods of begging for forgiveness before the required growth takes place. However, more important in this cleverly written work, Brown has shown clearly that there is similarity between the genders. The reactions of John and Hilda to the news of each other's cheating may be different, but both responses are a result of hurt and pride.

Brown creatively masks the seriousness of his message with decisive lines that are coated in humour, along with the injection of the comically designed Marley. However, the playwright, by not telling the respective occupations of the couple, has left room for questions since the suite is paid for by Hilda's aunt. Hilda's ring is purchased by John's mother, and they will be returning to an apartment with cupboards filled with one week's supply of grocery.

The cast is a good blend of experience and youth. All three were great in delivering punchlines, while at times executing daring actions with confidence and consistent accuracy.

At the helm of the cast is Campbell, who showed that he understood that one of his character's roles was to be the comic diversion. This comes especially when the young couple is on the verge of an explosion. With this in mind, Campbell was unblemished with the timing of his entrances and lines. While Marley did not show very noticeable growth emotionally, he did physically.

Mignott and Cole are welcome new faces to the theatre stage. Their performances showed that they are talented thespians. Each captured the emotional turmoil of their character and executed some daring actions. Throwing caution to the wind, Cole, as the angered Hilda, did not show restraint as she hurled objects across the room at her husband. Mignott, too, was great in his role, showing bravery as an actor. Both were clear in their delivery and clinical with the timing of their lines.

However, at one point, they were not believable in their claim that a jug was almost full of rainwater. And perhaps they could have reacted to the flashing of lightning and sound of thunder.

Brown teamed with Trevor Nairne to direct Hurricane Honeymoom and they did a fine job. All the entrances were fully and justifiably utilised. This included the window at the centre of the back of the stage, which amounted to an entrance for the prying Marley. Influenced by Nairne's set design, the actions move from the bed to the settee with regularity. The use of varying heights gave the placement of the actors some depth and created a good stage picture.

However, both directors may want to explain why the howling winds did not move the curtains at the open window. Also, they may want to say why Hilda, in spite of having two suitcases, wore one garment for such a long period.

Otherwise, all of Nairne's designs were of a high quality, from the choice of costumes for the characters to a set that depicted not only luxury, but also neglect.