I’d known for a while that I wanted to see Saro, so I bought my ticket early this week on DealDey. (Shout out to DealDey, by the way, for helping
cheapskates bargain hunters like me live our dreams.) Since the show started on Tuesday I’d been reading everywhere online about how
great it was, and so by yesterday evening my expectations were high. My only worry
was that I might be disappointed after all the hype.
I was not.
The 6pm show stared at about 6.45 and ended at 9. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Saro was like one big festival of music and dance.
For me, it was really good to see Gideon Okeke outside of his brooding Tinsel role. I’ve never seen him in anything besides Tinsel. He did not disappoint. Bimbo Manuel was brilliant as Don Ceeto. I was also pleased to see Patrick Diabuah as Olaitan. I first saw him in Yoruba Romance many weeks ago, and then again in Band Aid, where I first heard him sing. He’s become a favourite for me. The women who played Ronke and Jane were pretty amazing.
The music and dance
This is where the play really shines; it is a musical after all. Every single musical performance had me wide-eyed, and some got me squealing like a child. From Rume and Olaitan’s 'Ma Gbagbe Mi' to the church choir’s rendition, everything was superb. The dancers were out of this world – their energy was infectious, and the acrobatics had me on the edge of my seat.
Saro tells the story of a city, Lagos, and of four young aspiring musicians from the village who are desperate to ‘blow’ and make it big. They experience their first taste of the city when, as soon as they arrive, they are extorted by thugs for the silliest of things. A fight breaks out and the boys are arrested. But things start to look up when they are bailed by Don Ceeto, who hears them sing.
There were no dull moments for me, but I found these bits particularly delightful and/or moving:
Rume and Olaitan’s 'Ma Gbagbe Mi' song
The Fela performance
The Eyo masquerade performance
The church choir rehearsal (when Jane started to sing I got goosebumps)
The part-Fuji rendition of John Legend’s 'All of Me' (the audience went wild for this one)
The scene where the boys first arrive Lagos
Azeez and Efe's fuji performances for Don Ceeto and the producer
The Lagos nightclub scene where the boys do a dance-off
The strength of this production is in the music and dance, in its vibrancy and the raw energy that the cast brings to the show. Stripped down to just the story, it’s pretty basic: the migration of the young and ambitious from rural dwellings to find 'greener pastures' in urban jungles. Plus two friends pointed out a small matter that had been left sort of hanging – Rume. But this did not in any way affect my enjoyment of the show, and my friends say the same of their experience. It’s why I rushed home to put up this post. I’m still on a Saro high.
Saro is on for one more day at the Muson Centre, with the final three shows today, 28 December (1pm, 4pm and 7pm).
Believe the hype. Go watch Saro The Musical.