Friday, November 6, 2015

Theatre Review: Colour Me Man

It was with some ambivalence that I decided to get a ticket to see Colour Me Man. But I ended up having a really good time at the show.

Produced by GbagyiChild Entertainment and The NakedConvos and directed by Najite Dede, Colour Me Man is 75 minutes of pure enjoyment, with an ending that you will not see coming. Colour Me Man is inspired by the play For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, and is based on a series of monologues, by men, published on The Naked Convos.

The play opens with six friends – Black, Blue, Red, White, Grey and Yellow – meeting at Black’s bar. It’s a casual guys’ night out, and the men wind down and begin talking. Grey goes first, disclosing the secret of his extramarital affair – the model couple is not so model after all. After a good dose of ribbing, and some frank talk from White and Black, Grey is left rethinking his infatuation with his woman on the side. Next up is Yellow, who it turns out is insecure about his poor background, and is unable to be with a woman who is way beyond his league and who neither needs nor is impressed by him. White is the quintessential good guy; a virgin who has developed tunnel vision from so intently looking for Miss Perfect. He is Mr Perfect after all, and he deserves nothing less. His friends quickly put him in his place; his perfectionism, they tell him, can keep him from finding happiness.

Blue is the workaholic who has little time to spare for anything or anyone else. Accused of being a snob, Blue’s family money, his father’s unrealistic expectations, and the wariness that comes from being the rich guy everyone wants a piece of, have made Blue somewhat aloof. It is at this point that things start to get heated. Red provokes Black into revealing a secret plot against Blue, as well as his (Black’s) loss, the guilt and shame that have haunted him for so many years. Harsh words are traded and things get even tenser between the six – with Blue and Red coming head-to-head. In an impressive show of self-awareness, Red reveals his sadness, his dissatisfaction with his life, the fear of failure that dogs him, paralyses him even when he knows he should act. He admits that he has done a lot of wrong in his life. His friends try to reassure him of the grace and forgiveness that is available to everyone, but Red is not done yet. In a shockingly graphic fashion that leaves me frozen to my seat and his friends turning away in revulsion, Red reveals the extent of his depravity, and it is clear that there will be no grace or forgiveness for him here.

All the elements of this production come together nicely. The actors had me convinced from the first line. Timi Charles-Fadipe (Red) gives a particularly stunning performance; the last few minutes of the play are pure brilliance. I enjoyed seeing Toju Ejoh (Black) who is one of my favourites, as well as Seun Kentebe, who I like even more each time I watch perform. All six actors were wonderful to watch. I liked the intuitive lighting and the lovely set (although that red settee was a bit distracting; I was worried it might collapse). All in all, it was an evening very well spent.

Colour Me Man is showing for just one other day, tomorrow, at Terra Kulture. Should you go see it? It's a huge yes from me.

Date: Saturday, November 7
Time: 3pm (N3,000) and 6pm (N5,000; command performance)

Black - Toju Ejoh
Blue - Seun Kentebe
Red - Timi Charles-Fadipe
White - Deyemi Okanlawon
Grey - Olarotimi Fakunle
Yellow - Simi Hassan