Theatre Review: Madam Kenyan President

Directed by: Sammy Mwangi and Victor Ber
Where: Alliance Française
When: 20, 21,22,23,24 June 2012
Reviewed by: Faith Oneya
Ardent Heartrsings Kenya fans are bound to wax lyrical about the numerous Kenyan-themed productions that Heartstrings have staged in the last couple of years. Their current production Madam Kenyan President continues with the tradition of maximizing on different genres of comedy with a specialty on Kenyan stereotypes to deliver the 3 hour-long comedy with less success than the other plays if  success was to be judged by the reduced audience size (The norm is that the plays are staged to full houses) and the sizeable number of punch lines that failed to impress (The norm is that the punch lines usually leave the audience roaring with laughter).

Maina Olwenya(left) and Nancy Karanja

Madam Kenyan President is less about a female Kenyan president as the name suggests and more of a satire about the Kenyan citizens and politicians. Just like other Heartstrings productions, the play capitalizes on gender stereotypes and sexual innuendos.
The stage is decorated in Heartstrings fashion too: Sparse furniture, with the walls bearing cartoon sketches of different political scenarios in the country today.

A scene from the play

The play begins with a group of colleagues gossiping in the morning, again bringing forth the Kenyan way of ‘serious discussions’ as the recent helicopter crash that brought an end to the lives of Professor George Saitoti and his Assistant Ojode is discussed, with each character giving their own ignorant rendition of the crash. The character Galose, played by Maina Olwenya Fred (You may have caught him on Heartstring’s ‘Think Like a Kenyan Act Like a Lady’ and MTV’s ‘Shuga’) delivers a stellar performance acting as a colossal idiot throughout the play as he drifts back and forth in his role as a potential presidential candidate (disguised thinly as a man wooing a beautiful woman).

On the helicopter crash, for example, Galose comments;
“Why can’t they build a black box and put a plane in it?”

The play caricatures politicians, political parties and political affiliations which leaves the audience in stitches at appropriate albeit rare times. Another noteworthy performance is that of Nancy Wanjiku Karanja who plays the role of a spoilt rich girl “whose family owns the whole of Kangemi”.

It is also prudent to note that for the first time (at least in my years of watching Heartrsings plays), a gay character is introduced, and he pulls of a hilarious performance too. You have to watch it to find out.


The gay character in action

If you are looking to be entertained this weekend, then this is the play to watch. Tickets go for 500/= (Hotline: 0721608656)



Author: Faith Oneya

Lover of the written and spoken word.

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