Humour rains from ‘Prayer Partner’
Prayer Partner, written by David Tulloch, is a showcase of excellent use of sound effects and fine acting, wrapped in comedic situations.
When Danielle Jackson (Shashana Lamont), a 24-year-old middle-class woman, learns of boyfriend Giovani Miller’s (Ricky Rowe) infidelity shortly after their engagement, she ends all relationships with men, including that with best friend Peter (David Tulloch). In turn, she reaches out to a prayer partner centre for solace. The result, a better-written Act Two and an escalation in humour aided by dramatic irony.
Point of view
Tulloch’s point of view is manifested in a number of identifiable themes, but unfortunately Act One is a limp-along, filled with much ado about little. But in act two, the playwright and director redeemed himself. Humour rained on the unsuspecting audience with consistency, which resulted in the cast getting a well-deserved applause, at their curtain call.
Tulloch, as the actor, contributed significantly to the escalated humour. He played the love-struck Peter who disguised himself as Peta-Gaye, Danielle’s prayer partner. Except for some inconsistency in Peter’s American accent, he was exceptional in both roles, creating the right contrast to distinguish the nerdish Peter from Peta-Gaye.
But Tulloch could not have achieved his goal without great support from the rest of the cast, such as Rowe, who commandeered his character Giovani, or Gio, with much conviction. The thespian captured the buffoonery of his character well: the confident and deceptive Gio, who chases Peta-Gaye around the room, and subsequently spouting words of scripture, is nicely measured and successfully delivered.
Donald Anderson (Abe Jackson, Danielle’s father) and Dacoda Mitchell (Sister Grace, the real prayer partner) were also amazing in their respective roles. But whereas Anderson needed to warm up to show his fine talent, Mitchell came out of the blocks with a burst of conviction. She showed power and control with every utterance, as well as the gestures of Grace. And, Anderson, especially in Act Two, played the grieving politician with more ease.
Alas, this was not the case for Lamont, who, especially in Act One, seemed a bit apprehensive. She, however, wore the well-designed costumes required for the sophisticated Danielle with the right flair.
In fact, the costumes, overall, were well chosen. Each costume reflected the status and role of each character quite well. Gio’s parade of football gears reinforced his aspiration. Abe’s bush-jacket signified the party that he belongs to.
The sound effects are also another successful aspect of the production. Not only was it brilliantly used to generate humour, but also presented more information on the characters, such as Gio. On the other side, the mundane setting of an open-concept living room was matched by the yellow-painted walls and white leather settee. There were also some questionable exits by the characters.
Nonetheless, Prayer Partner, seen on Saturday as the last production to be staged at the Phoenix Theatre, was a very entertaining work of art.