Nigerian playwright Ola Rotimi's 60s play Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again is both a primer for feminism and a history lesson in African culture. A military leader is ready to leap into politics, but his three wives -- inspired by his latest, a doctor trained in America -- cut his plans short when they discover they needn't be slaves to his will.
There's lots of farcical, broad, commedia-style humour in the script, though in the hands of the AfriCan Theatre Ensemble it's played with the qualities of certain unpolished community theatre productions -- great energy from a large and committed cast, outlines of characters, lines not quite learned, rhythms not always in sync with the text. The best work and most solid stage presence -- though not always the most intelligible dialogue -- comes from Babatunde Oluseyi Sanwo as Major Lejoka- Brown, whose preening ego and self-satisfied air inspire his military actions on both the home and political fronts.
Beyond that, the strongest impression in director Bayo Akinfemi's production comes from the costumes and the exciting drumming.
Rotimi lectures this afternoon (Thursday, June 15) at the U of T's New College, and there's a gala performance of Our Husband tonight. On Saturday (June 17) he gives a workshop on his plays.
OUR HUSBAND HAS GONE MAD AGAIN, by Ola Rotimi, directed by Bayo Akinfeku, with Babatunde Oluseyi Sanwo, Faith Eigbadon, Olamiji Aina and Denise Taylor. Presented by AfriCan Theatre Ensemble and Artword Theatre at Artword (75 Portland). Runs to June 25, Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday matinee 4 pm. $20, stu/srs $15, child $10, Thursday two-for-one, June 15 gala $35. 408-2783. Rating: NN
Husband lacks polish