Tuesday, December 20, 2016 2:50 pm
By Adefoyeke Ajao
Produced in conjunction with theatre veterans Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva, Tosin Otudeko’s Heartbeat; The Musical, presents a patchwork of narratives that are centred on Grace House, an iconic homeless shelter cum rehabilitation centre.
The play opens by introducing us to some of the main characters: Eunice (Evaezi Ogoro), who runs Grace House; Eseosa (Uche Chika Elumelu), her boisterous daughter; Adi (Oscar Adiele), a resident of the shelter, and Iya Sidi (Bola Edwards), the shelter’s cook, who cheerfully set about planning the shelter’s 25th anniversary. They are blissfully unaware that the event would set the tone for intrigues and the entrance of darker characters such as JD Dacosta, the scheming mogul and politician played by William Benson, and Fileoluwa, the penitent dissident (Nnani Akah).
Heartbeat tactfully portrays a variety of themes ranging from romance to socio-politics through a diverse range of characters. Although the direction of its narrative is predictable and the tempo is threatened by occasional sound glitches and some drawn-out scenes, director, Najite Dede deftly integrates the imperfections of the musical’s main characters and their respective journeys to redemption into a seamless collage. The largely unknown cast also delivers an enthralling performance against the backdrop of a simple set, in costumes that are as delightful as the songs they render in sync with the live orchestra.
In addition to its entertainment value, Heartbeat is strongly hinged on the Nigerian reality. Some familiar subjects, such as riots, corruption, power cuts, the consequent dependence on fuel and generators and the persistent discontent with government and its officials take up a massive chunk of its story.
Heartbeat is a relatable performance that will most likely boost Lufodo’s intention of “making theatre sustainable through long runs”. As its run of 28 performances came to a close on the 18th of December, the ovation from the crowd was evidence that Lufodo had delivered a quality production to an appreciative audience.
Heartbeat The Musical is written by Tosin Otudeko. The script was developed by Debo Oluwatumininu, and the music was arranged by Efosa Lawal. It was revived by Lufodo Productions, a company owned by Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva.