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Location: United Kingdom

A Naija Guy living (and loving) in the UK.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Christ of Coldharbour Lane

I took advantage if the Metro readers offer of tickets for ten quid to watch "The Christ of Coldharbour Lane" earlier this week. Continuing a tradition of Nigerian Writers who choose to use the vibrant and colourful happenings of Brixton as a backdrop to their plays, Oladipo Agboluaje's play is a comedy that follows a former mental patient who declares himself the Messiah to a Brixton audience that are more interested in KFC and recharging their 'Pay as you Go' mobile phones.

As with Biyi Bandele's "Brixton Stories", there was almost too much going on and the multitude of characters who walked on and off stage all seemed to have their own story to tell. Also one of the things that slightly irked me was the verbosity of the main character, the Black Jesus 'Omotunde' (played by Jimmy Akingbola of Holby Blue). By mid point in the play everytime he opened his mouth to preach I was tempted to switch off. However the play was saved by the many random moments of comedy created by its multitude ensemble of characters.

One of the highlights for me was the performance of Dona Croll (Eastenders, Casualty) as the tragic Maria Maudlin a stripper/prostitute who Omotunde sees as his Mary Magdalene. Her pole dancing routine was almost worth the 10 quid entry by itself (lech that I am!). Its really difficult to believe that the woman is almost 50!

By the end of the play it appears that some of the biblical rhetoric was an attempt to wake the poor brixton from their oppression and seek an armed revolution against the state (I think...).

Anyway the all black cast, an intimate west end venue and the classic moments of comedy ('never trust a man who is still on Pay as you Go!'), make The Christ of Coldharbour Lane a worthwhile way to spend an evening.

Tickets can be purchased through the box office - Soho Theatre 0870 429 6883

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