Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Bangarang balances roots, mainstream theatre

Published:Friday | December 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM
The officer applies restraint in Bangarang.
Keith 'Shebada' Ramsay on Duke Street in Bangarang, which opens tonight at the Green Gables Theatre, Cargill Avenue, St Andrew.
A battle rages on Princess Street in Bangarang.
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Bangarang, the latest offering of the 'Shebada' franchise, written by multi-award winning David Tulloch, opens at the Green Gables Theatre, 6 Cargill Avenue, St Andrew, tonight. It will run from Wednesday to Sunday at 8 p.m.

The comedy reveals true-to-life scenarios on Princess Street in downtown Kingston. It comes after a successful run of Bashment Granny 3, including over 100 local performances and more than 60 overseas shows.

Apart from being a fiery comedy, the producers decided to spice up their usual tasty recipe with some new ingredients. Bangarang, while still catering to the dancehall masses, has come to a middle ground with elements of mainstream theatre.

The script has been created by Tulloch, who for years has been successfully chalking up commercial hits for the mainstream market. The cast features two-time Actor Boy award-winning actress Terri Salmon, four-time Best Actor winner and movie star Chris McFarlane and Tulloch himself, who has featured in a number of mainstream productions.

Directed by B. Lloyd Allen, the mainstream professionals join the road warriors such as Trudy Bell, famous for her turn as the Paul Beale-created character Melcita; Patrick Smith; and Keith 'Shebada' Ramsay. The blend of talents ensures that the comedy is properly seasoned and the drama simmers well enough to keep the storyline on track.

Audiences will meet Pearl, a hustling higgler by day, trying to make ends meet, but she is a dismal failure at selling her goods and is forced to become a prostitute by night, giving rise to her claim to fame. Pearl is caught amidst the love interests of suitors, some of them clients, who use her for various purposes. It is through these relationships that we meet the politician, Winston Justice, whose ambition is to become the member of parliament for the constituency covering Princess Street, since the area is no longer under the control of a don.

Other characters include Officer Shellaz, a policeman of simple means who is trying to better himself by any means necessary, and Preacher, a mysterious intellect of a gangster-like nature.

Officer Shellaz is madly in love with Pearl, but she only sees him as a client. Pearl's heart is tied up with the politician, Winston Justice, but he is married to her sister. So, left alone, she only has the comforting words of Preacher to lean on.

Thrown into this mix is haberdashery owner Miss Chin, who is desperately trying to own all the land downtown to build a supercentre. The comedic pot of soup is complete with the all-time hustler and know-all, the handcart man, Shebada.