Esther the Musical’ was staged last weekend by Potterhouse School at the Braeburn theatre in Garden Estate. Based on the Biblical story, it’s the adapted account scripted by Martin Landry that Julisa Rowe directed, complete with a live Kenyan orchestra conducted by George Oduor.
It’s the story of how a humble Jewish girl (Davina Voi) gets to be a Persian Queen but must risk all she’s got to save her Hebrew people from mass extermination at the King’s behest.
The story grapples with loads of heated issues, like the patriarchy that disallows a wife from seeing her spouse unless he summons her first, and the rebellion enacted by the feisty first Queen Vashti (Audrey Beaulah) who refuses to obey her King’s command.
But the musical manages to tell this remarkable tale with such a light touch that one hardly feels the oppression of the Jews or the dire threat to their lives. Instead, we applaud Vashti for rebelling against her dimwitted King (Namiri Chiroma).
We only wonder why it takes Esther so long to also stand up for herself and her Jewish people. It’s only after her uncle Mordecai (Amos Okoth) prods her to appreciate the power she’s actually got that she comes out and confesses she’s a Jew. And thus, the King would have to exterminate her too.
The musical is it’s a brilliant mix of music, dance, comedy and lovely costumes and sets.
The only challenge on opening night was hearing the cast while the orchestra played.But thanks to Dr Rowe’s direction, her cast didn’t need many words to communicate the lively tale of Esther’s royal road to heroism and the saving of her ‘chosen people’. Meanwhile, Festival of Creative Arts made a come-back last weekend after a two-year hiatus. In keeping with FCA tradition, Eliud Abuto adapted a British play, setting Norman Robbins’ murder mystery within a Kenyan context.
‘Enemy Within’ referred to just about everybody in the play since almost everyone is either a murderer or a victim. That includes the hostesses of the house and visitors like the creepy Adrian Koinange who one might think is responsible for the murders.