'The Parables' - Another hit for Father Ho Lung and Friends
The historic stage of the Little Theatre in Kingston came alive on Saturday with fine acting, singing, and dancing, colourful costumes, and dynamic lighting.
Over the years, Father Ho Lung and Friends have fused popular Bible stories with the performing arts, resulting in some of Jamaica's most memorable musicals. But none has demonstrated such great emphasis on dancing and choral singing as their most recent production: The Parables. And they have done so with resounding success.
The Parables is divided into two parts. Part one is a sequence of parables establishing a plot tantamount to a parable itself. Part two not only continues the illustrious showcasing of talents, but highlights different genres of music played on a wide variety of instruments.
Parables are stories told by Jesus to illustrate moral or spiritual lessons. And so, part one begins with the parable of blind Bartimeus. On receiving his sight (partially), he and David, and a Jamaica throw-in, Bigga, embark on a symbolic journey to find truth.
Their journey was creatively chronicled in a script written by Ho Lung through parables such as The Lamb, The Rich Man and Lazarus, The Prodigal Son, ending with The Story of The Possessed Boy. The closing parable, according to the programme note, "shows the triumph of Christ over all the powers of evil on earth".
In part two, popular songs from previous productions took centre stage, making them sound richer, with an impactful message. These included Praise Him, Jamaica, Jamaica and The Lord's My Shepherd. A steel pan item as well as drumming added variety to the musical feast.
Overall, The Parables was an excellent show of team work by cast and crew, and this was not lost on the audience. The favourite scene for vocalist Candy Isaacs was The Prodigal Son. She told The Gleaner: "You could tell the singers put themselves in it. You could hear the interpretation in the songs. That really grabbed me. It was really touching."
High school student Breanna Bell concurred with Isaacs. She was also impressed by the colourful and vibrant costumes, the smooth transitions from one scene to the next, and the overall flow of the production.
Director Greg Thames, musical director Wynton Williams, and choreographer Paula Shaw as well as lighting designer Robin Baston must, therefore, be commended for jobs well done.
The journey of The Parables will continue next weekend, at its current venue, before traversing to the Courtleigh Auditorium in October for another two weekend shows.