Thu | Jul 18, 2019

'Glass Slippaz', a bellyful of laughter

Published:Wednesday | January 16, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Donald 'Iceman' Anderson (right) as Prince Sheggy goes down on his knees to speak to Alaine (Cindyrelisha) during rehearsals for the play, 'Glass Slippaz'. - Contributed

Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer

There is nothing unusual about reproducing versions of the fairy tale, Cinderella.

Almost every culture around the world has a version. In one instance, Frenchman Charles Perrault, of an earlier century, was said to have cleaned up the then popular peasant version for a more refined upscale audience. Jamaica's Patrick Brown has also added a version that bears a passing resemblance of the popular children's story.

However, unlike Perrault, Brown's version is written in a play-form instead of a short story. He also calls his adaptation Glass Slippaz, instead of Cinderella. And unlike the Brothers' Grimm's version that is familiar to Jamaicans, he used poetic licence to give gender changes to two of the characters.

Grimm's fairy godmother is replaced by a fairy godfather, called 'Tipsy' (Donald Anderson) and stepfather Brutus Cruff (Courtney Wilson) replaces Cindyrelisha's (Sakina Deer) cruel stepmother.

The two stepsisters remain in Brown's burlesque, but like Cindyrelisha they too have names which sound as if they were created during a drunken swirl, Punella Cruff (Natalee Cole) and Drizella Cruff (Sharee McDonald-Russell).

doting affection

Additionally, the prolific playwright included a new character called 'Simple' (Glen Titus). It is this character who served as narrator, as well as one of the main characters.

Simple also turns out to be significant to the development of the plot. This becomes evident when his doting affection for the female Cruffs almost jeopardises Cindyrelisha's plan to meet Prince Sheggy.

Had it not been for Tipsy, who has his fair share of demons to tame, Cindyrelisha would not have met her prince, and good would not have overcome evil.

The acting, along with the technical elements of Sunday's production, was amazing.

Designer-at-large Trevor Nairne seemed to be inspired by vibrant colours. His set was divided into two, one area depicting indoors and the other outdoors.

Colourful in décor and furniture, it allows for an easy transition to the fantasy scenes.

Wigs were the popular choice for hairstyles. Their vibrant colours and noticeable length, especially that of Simple and Prince Sheggy, were worn with aplomb. The wigs also added some degree of dynamism to the awesome spectacle that perfectly fit the small Centerstage Theatre's stage.

But Nairne's vibrant and functional set seemed to have overwhelmed Brown in his role as the director. At times, the actors seemed to have been given no clear direction and ended up bumping into each other. But commendations to him in his directing of Cindyrelisha's fantasy dream scenes.

Despite the small-stage hiccups, there was fine acting from the cast of six and their four supporting actors.

A seemingly rejuvenated Glen Campbell was clear in speech and seemed to have enjoyed his role. McDonald and Cole made the bawdiness of their respective characters likeable.

Lips painted to match crass behaviour and bright coloured costumes did little to hide the impressive effort it took to create the two stepsisters.

Deer, also gave a believable performance. Through her fine singing and the required docile demeanour, Cindyrelisha's desires seemed far-fetched.

But the best characterisations came from Wilson and Anderson. Anderson understood and thus executed the humour and differences in both Tipsy and Prince Sheggy.

The drunken and gullible Tipsy was in stark contrast to the suave, yet flamboyant Prince.

Wilson's role as Brutus Cruff was a far cry from his usual buffoonery and don-man roles. With Cruff, he delivered a believable character, the audience could not help but dislike.

Glass Slippaz is funny.