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Hilarious! - Patrick Brown's If There's A Will, There's A Wife

Patrick Brown's If There's A Will There's A Wife

For many reasons, Patrick Brown’s If There’s A Will There’s A Wife shouldn’t be a refreshingly funny play. But it is. Actually, it is downright you-might-just-hurt-yourself-from-laughing funny. I hadn’t expected the play to leave me tired from laughing, because I was disappointed at the return the ‘Country bumpkin come to town premise’. It’s old and a little hackneyed, and as much as I respect the skill that comes from Brown’s pen, I felt let down that more imagination wasn’t applied to this year’s ‘Christmas’ production.

And then, the play started and gut-bursting laughter quickly chased any skepticism or disappointment out the door. If There’s A Will There’s A Wife is possibly the most hilarious bit of work that Brown has produced in recent years (especially as Cindy-Relisha and the DJ Prince and Charlie’s Angels are both removed as they are remounts). 

If There's A Will There's A Wife is the story of Abe, a barely literate farmer who arrives in town, with his companion Etta as well as an attack goat, having received an inheritance from a distant uncle. Abe and Etta are then beseiged by scheming women attempting to get into Abe's pockets and technology which defies understanding.

Kim (Camille Davis) and Tish (Sharee McDonald-Russel battle for Abe's (Glen Campbell) attentionAll the kudos, of course, does not lie with Brown.The play is very ably directed by Brown and his theatrical comrade in arms, Trevor Nairne. Together they produce a masterful creation of comedic bounty. 

If There’s A Will There’s A Wife also benefits from a talented cast of Glen Campbell, Camille Davis, Sharee McDonald Russell, Courtney Wilson and Sakina Deer. While they all deliver solid performances, Campbell (Abe) and Deer (Etta) are particularly striking in their portrayals. Kim (Camille Davis) and Ivan (Courtney Wilson)

What is most remarkable about Campbell’s performance, is that although Abe and  the character who brought Campbell to fame, Titus (assuming you do not count the ‘Dancing Police Man’ in the Fab5 videos for ‘Ring Road Jam’ and ‘All Night Party’ ), share a similar genesis both hailing from a rural space that is best described as about 10 mines behind God’s Back, Campbell’s treatment of the character, is a testament to how much he has grown as a comedic actor in the ensuing decades. As a result, Abe is a far richer, more layered portrayal. So although Abe and Titus are both simpletons, the humour is not simplistic.

Deer, as the near unflappable Etta, once again proves herself to be one of the most talented young actresses currently on the Jamaican stage, sharing that mantle with Nadean Rawlins and the recently bloomed Julene Robinson. 

Tish (Sharee McDonald-Russel) and Abe (Glen Campbell)If There’s A Will There’s A Wife also benefits from a great set, designed by Nairne and Brown. Nairne also does a commendable job with the costuming.

By now, the Jambiz International production team has become a well-oiled machine. They know what works on the Jamaican comedic landscape and how to get the crowds to keep coming. As a result, some of the plays generated from this theatrical factory can be formulaic, even when funny. However, with If There’s A Will There’s A Wife Brown takes a comedic standard as the kernel of the play, but then pumps a massive amount of wit into it, that makes you forget how tried and true the premise is.

Etta (Sakina Deer)If There’s A Will There’s A Wife is a full-bodied production infused with great acting, good direction and great attention to the technical details. As you laugh your way out of the theatre, you simply have to forgive the formula, if you even remember what that formula was.