Never saw FCA’s Perfect Wedding 1, but I assume its sequel came into being because PW#1 was a smash hit.
Normally, sequels do not measure up to the original show, but when Perfect Wedding 2 was staged last weekend at Alliance Francaise, its absurd hilarity defied that stereotype. It was a giggle from start to end.
Maina Olwenya’s opening moments of hysteria were slightly ‘over the top’, but then he — playing Bill the prospective groom — had just woken up in his honeymoon suite on the morning of what was meant to be his ‘perfect wedding’, in bed with a strange woman (Valentine Wambui) he apparently did not know.
This sets the stage for a whirlwind of activity, given that both his best man Tom (Robert Agengo) and his future bride Rachel (Rosemary Nyambura) show up at the suite, leading to mayhem and Bill’s frenetic struggle to conceal his misconduct from his fiancée.
It is made all the more chaotic when the mystery woman turns out to be Tom’s new girlfriend, Judy. So the story becomes a game of hide and seek on both Bill’s and Judy’s part. It is also a mystery as to how the two ‘strangers’ ended up in bed in the bridal suite.
It is hard to imagine the story getting more complex, but the real wild card of this charade comes in the shape of the hotel ‘room attendant’ Julie (Wanjiku Mburu) whose identity is mistaken by Tom for her being Bill’s mystery woman.
Turns out Julie, who initially does not look too ‘switched on’, loves play-acting the part of Tom’s girlfriend. Her role is key since Bill, as part of the ‘cover up’, lies to Rachel that Bill is the one who occupied the honeymoon suite the night before with the new girlfriend.
The lies become so entangled that the only one who sees the whole picture of what is going on is the room attendant. She is insistent on having the truth told.
As it turns out, the one to make a ‘full confession’ is the mystery woman who tells how, the night before, she had met a drunken Bill who had poured out his woes to her, claiming he was about to marry a woman he did not love. She went on to admit that she too was involved with a man who was not ‘the one’. Their mutual disclosures are what led to their landing in the honeymoon suite.
The ending of Perfect Wedding 2 is just as improbable as the rest of the play but as a convoluted comedy that unravels in the end, bringing about clarity — and a stunning shock, the show continues FCA’s tradition of producing well-orchestrated laughs that do not tax our minds too much but which leave us wishing that real life can come out as cleverly and simply as FCA comedies do.
Meanwhile, tomorrow night at Kenya National Theatre, the award-winning actor Elsaphan Njora stars in ‘51-Nzilani: A Man on a Journey’, an original multi-media production that pivots around Njora’s poetry.
Directed by June Gachui (whose album, June at 20 will soon be available online and as a CD) who also acts in the show along with Brian Ogola and Charity Nyambura, 51 – Nzilani also stands for the anthology of 51 poems that Njora wrote, 14 of which he is selected to be part of this show.
Also included in Saturday’s musical is Njora’s band, TNK (T standing for Tim Njoroge on guitar, K for Kandi, the vocalist and N for Njora who, in this incarnation is a spoken-word artist).
The poet Njora has already produced 51-Nzilani once this year in July at Michael Joseph Centre. But then, after the show got a big boost on Twitter after someone created @bringbackNzilani and the response was huge, Njora selected 14 different poems from the 51 for this second performance of the production.
So the show will be quite different from the first, although its central core will still be Nzilani, the journeyman whose spoken words will reflect Njora’s own thoughts and feelings.
The anthology of 51-Nzilani: a man on a journey will officially be launched November 5. And the poet says he is committed to publishing 51 new poems every year for the next 51 years. So we should hold him to his word.
Njora is best known for his film roles, starring in Indulge Me which won Sh1 million at the Machakos Film Festival in 2015, and winning the best actor award for his part in Rolex at the 48 hour Film Project in 2013. Both films were recently screened at the Lola Film Festival at Goethe Institute.
Finally, Heartstrings has brought back My Fish My Choice this weekend at Alliance Francaise.