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Oliver Mair Returns with the Musical Revue Laff It Off
It’s been well over a decade, but writer producer Oliver Mair (Dis Ting, 1999 and Tek Dat Ting Mek Laugh, 2000), has dusted off his pen (or key board) and is returning to the Jamaican stage with a new play and he’s bringing with him a few of the ‘unusual’ suspects when he does so.
Not surprisingly, Mair continues with the comedy revue and so this summer, his new production, Laff It Off will bring music, politics and a range of social commentary to the Philip Sherlock Centre of the Creative Arts for two weekends.
With the island’s ethos to often ‘tek kin teet kibba heart bun’ (use laughter to mask pain) the comedy revue has been a wildly successful form in Jamaica. While the number of revues peppering the landscape seemed to have peaked at the turn of the century, heralded by Yard 2012 and Jamaica Fifty 2 Rahtid, they seem to be steadily making a come back.
Laff It Off had its media launch last week at the PSCCA where a sneak peak at three of the sketches that will populate the production, highlighting the breadth of issues that are touched on, from the hefty light bills of JPS through to police corruption and later the litigation skills of KD Knight.
Intriguingly, each sketch worked with a subtext allowing the humour to work on multiple levels. So, while enjoying the wit in lyrics of ‘JPS’ there is also the fight between the two divas. This is further enhanced by the fact that the roles are played by television personalities Patria-Kaye Aarons (CVM) and Simone Cooper Clarke (TVJ).
The cast also features Mark ‘Bones’ Martin who like Mair has been missing from the stage or some time. Martin promises to be the highlight of the production. The cast is rounded out by Rodney Campbell, Akeem Mignott, Christina Stars and comedic vlogger Russhaine ‘Dutty’ Berry, who makes his theatrical debut.
Mair is promising that Laff It Off will be fearless in its approach and will touch on a myriad of topical issues. The play will also feature from lighting design by Nadia Roxburg, musical direcction by Dalton Spence and Hugh Douse, and choreography by Michael Holgate.
“If there is an issue that comes out on the Friday, it will be in the show,” he promised. “Basically we’re going to be covering everything topical.”
Craig McNally has the reins as director and explained that keen attention was paid to selecting the members of the cast.
“We were very intentional in selecting who we wanted to be a part of this cast,” he said. “We wanted to go outside of the box and have people who have not been on the stage for a while or have shied away from the stage.”
Hopefully, audiences will find the combination of promised laughter, satire and fresh faces appealing enough to flock to the PSCCA. Laff It Off opens on Emancipation Day, Friday, August 1 and closes August 10, 2014.