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Jamaica Sweet: A Feat of Comedic Recycling

David Tulloch's Jamaica Sweet

David Tulloch's Jamaica Sweet is a hodgepodge of old jokes, swirled around, and regurgitated and remade into a musical comedy revue. So, Jamaica Sweet is not suited for everyone's palate. Instead, it’s best ingested by those who have no need of originality or maybe a younger crowd to whom many of its jokes may appear new.

Tulloch, who is going through a remarkably prolific phase, has assumed the mantles of writer and director and Jamaica Sweet is one of two of his projects from the current crop of plays on the Jamaican stage. 

Akeem Mignott makes a convincing 'suck finga bwoi' in this sketchThe play benefits from having some solid and experienced actors in the cast, which helps to carry off some of humour, in particular Michael 'String Bean' Nicholson, Deon Silvera and Rosie Murray. Though far less experienced, than his colleagues, Akeem Mignott also delivers a good performance.

Alas, not all the acting is good especially, as Tulloch and Terri Salmon have combined their powers to take overacting to interstellar levels. Marlon Brown and Rushae Watson round out the cast.

However, if one has a problem with Jamaica Sweet, it is not to be laid at the feet of the feet of the performers, but rather the material they were working with. Even in the use of its title, Jamaica Sweet seems to be deluding under the idea that it is a satire of contemporary Jamaica, but it never, makes it that far. This happens in large part because it is far too unoriginal to be making a statement of its own.Michael 'Stringbean' Nicholson and Rosie Murray as an unhappy couple

Several of the jokes to be found in Jamaica Sweet are recycled from the popular landscape, however some of them bear a striking resemblance to plays that came before it, seemingly willing to borrow from everywhere.

Indeed, Jamaica Sweet seems to bear much of its heritage to Jamaica2Rahtid including the use of the minimalistic set and national colors as the base costuming. The production even features a sketch which seems to be a bargain basement remake of one of Jamaica2Rahtid's 'Trevor's Last Bashment'.

Jamaica2Rahtid is not the only production from which ideas were evidently borrowed. There is a hint of Children Children that opens the production, and even Yard 2012 makes an appearance.

Deon Silvera and Terri SalmonThe songs in general fare better than much of the drama, even though sometimes their relevance was questionable. The accompanying choreography (Michael Holgate) is decent costuming is also fair, working in with the national colours and red (which is an unofficial national colour) to reinforce its theme. The minimalistic set is also in national colours, robed in black, green and gold.

With the appearance of Jamaica Fifty 2 Rahtid and Yard 2012, it seemed that musical revues may be making a come back, bringing with them wit and humour and tons of laughter. Jamaica Sweet clearly tries to follow in their wake but its recipe of re-hashed and recycled jokes is just not so sweet after all.

Jamaica Sweet opened at the Green Gables Theatre and is currently playing across the island.