Director: Kenneth Uphopho, Yusuf Gbenga, Ayo Ajayi and Ibukun Fasunhan
Writer: Seun Kentebe, Thomas Odia
Cast: Gideon Okeke, Paolo Sisiano, Paul Alumona, Patrick Diabuah, Arese Emokpae and Bimbo Manuel
I had thought of seeing Saro the Musical for a while; most especially after my buddy Duvy had done her piece about it (missed it, read it here). The need to see it was probably heighten some more in November when I saw the banner at Terra Kulture "coming soon in December”, so I had it marked on my calendar and eagerly waited for the day it was going to show.
December is a month of musicals, the Americans make it a point of duty to have a singing movie every year, this year that was fulfilled in ‘Annie’ and I believe for us Nigerians it’s the Christmas carols and various musical stage plays like KAKADU, A Christmas Story, Mad King of Ijudiya and a host of others that make our musicals.
Anyway, getting to Muson on the 27th of December 2014 wasn’t the problem; parking was especially since Muson was the venue of two prominent stage plays. The play was supposed to kick off at 6pm, and getting into the hall, the place was full already. I took my seat behind and after some time, we were advised to take over some VIP seats, great! (Those guys don't come early anyway). We waited for another 30-45minutes for the play to kick off and I believe it did at 6:45pm.
Saro the musical 2 is the story of 4 young men, upcoming musicians in an age-old search for greener pastures, I believe the term they used was "BLOW" and what other city to do so than in the city of Lagos. Weaving together the trials, misfortunes, love and destinies of the foursome into a musical journey that was a musical masterpiece was a true site to behold.
Kicking off with a melodious number, the 4 acts made up of Gideon Okeke, Paolo Sisiano, Paul Alumona and Patrick Diabuah, asides being good looking hunks they delivered to their various roles. Not sure what I was expecting, especially from Tinsel star Gideon, but that dude can sing to save his life. He did not only sing, he danced, same goes for Paolo who played Efe who had the jovial look of the lot, but when it came to the battle screen, oh my he put on a show that is worthy of this review. He was good, singing, dancing and smiling perfect combo and all this was well executed. Another character that was pleasing to watch was Rume, played by Arese Emokpae such a tiny body, yet she belted out tunes that made me feel she could give Waje and Omawunmi a run for their money, she was also a good character and I was totally impressed with the lineup and kudos goes to the casting director for his choices.
Costumes, hmmmm… costumes are such a big deal and I marveled at the level of work that went into this production. For a 100 men cast, wow, another applause goes to the costume designer in the person of Juliana Dede, no scenes’ costume felt out of place. I imagined the work that went into getting everyone dressed especially the cast members who danced and I was wowed. The Fanti carnival, the Eyo festival, the club and mall scene just to mention a few scenes were costumes I felt were apt and fitted nicely into the said scene. Directing for this play must have been a herculean task; did I mention there were 100 people? 100 people on the stage, not at one given time though but for 14-15 different scenes, to dance, to sing, to act, hian! To Kenneth Uphopho, Yusuf Gbenga, Ayo Ajayi and Ibukun Fasunhan, I can't imagine what a rehearsal for this production looked like, it must have taken months to get it right but it truly paid off as this was a total musical package. I also believe our ovation at the end of the play said it all, it was well deserved. I give tuale to the rest of the cast members who sang, danced and had to change the set, I have one question, how can I sign up? ‘Cos I won't mind being a backup dancer for a production such as this.
Well done to Bolanle Austen-Peters, the various companies and media organizations that supported this stage play, one thing that went on in my mind during the play, why don’t we have our own Broadway styled productions that we export? Saro and KAKADU are two Broadway styled productions that definitely showcase our culture, Nigerian heritage and acting prowess.
Saro2; The Musical was beautiful, amazing and my musical for the season. For me, it was truly a magical experience that brought the joy of Christmas and theatre to a heightened crescendo and earns a 10/10 from Xplore!