Reviewer: Taiwo Adeniyi
Title: Ada the Country
Genre: Musical Stage
Director: Kemi Lala
Creator: Marian Ogaziechi
There have been several attempts to document the plights Nigerian women. Several voices have been heard on the need for Nigerian societies to consider human rights as woman rights considering the patriarchical nature of the society. ‘Ada the Country’ was pronounced in it’s attempt to unravel the Ada in every Nigerian women and the all female cast added the needed glamour and authenticity to this course.
The musical stage show was one like no other in it’s succinct presentations, talented cast, modest costume, beautiful stage, thrilling acts and sonorious songs. From the opening scene of the introductory song to the end, the musical kept audiences on their seat with several people not allowing the popcorn to take their eyes off the stage.
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‘Ada the Country’ showcased the plights of Nigerian women in a glaring manner in a musical stage play that was shown for two days on three occasions in Abuja. Some people in the audience were left with teary faces as the issues revealed in the play resonated with them, reminding them the Ada in them. The Ada in them that contends with societal beliefs and puts their family ahead of themselves.
The plot was woven around Ada (played by Kate Henshaw) who lost her nine-month-old baby, Chiamaka to a midnight fire which the fire fighters could not put off. While the fire ravaged their property and her daughter, her husband Femi was ‘hanging out’ away from the house and only returned to see what remains of his property and charred body of his child.
Owing to guilt, regret, depression and pain, Ada left her husband to her parent’s house where her mother was another ‘principality.’ While Femi’s mother (Joke Silva) believed Ada couldn’t have left for no reason, Femi’s sister, Kemi (Tosin Adéyemí) described her as insenstive and inhumane having had to leave her matrimonial home subjecting her husband to emotional trauma especially after the loss of their baby.
Ada was caught in the web of societal, family, marital and religious demamds without recourse to her personal needs. Providing succour for Ada as she decides if to swim against or follow the tide were Nkem (Chioma Chigul Omeruah) and Alero (Bambam).
All the female cast in the musical stage presented several challenges women face in the country. From Ada, to Kemi, Nkem, Alero even their mothers were not left out.
This musical stage play was on another level, intelligently written and superbly delivered. If presented in a film and produced in 2016, it would have given La La Land a good run.
The theme song was thrilling and highly captivating. What a way to start a show.
The three female and two male singers did so well setting the standard for subsequent acts by sending chills down audience spine with their rhythmic rendition of the theme song. They did well making the audience comfortable with Ada thereby creating a soft spot for the character as her struggles unfold.
Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw, BamBam, Chigurl, Tosin Adéyemí and Ben Ogbeiwi showed another perspective to their relevance in the entertainment industry. And what makes a musical show captivating if not the beats. The percussionist who also doubled as the drummer stole the show. He presented an avenue for an energetic dance which comprises rhythm and blues, hip hop, hi-life and afrobeats.
While tasking women on the need to learn to mother their selves back to whole again, ‘Ada the Country’ delivered the message with a blend of Nigerian languages. While this shows the beauty of Nigerian culture people in the audience were momentarily lost as they do not understand the language. Quite painful was the laugher and cheers that followed when the cast spoke Nigerian languages.
Credit to Titilope Sonuga who did the beautiful work of piecing the story together through deep poetry, music and dance.
While Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja was not an ideal place for such musical stage, the set designer maximized the stage to portray about three settings from the burnt Femi’s average looking house to his parents affluent house then the Ada’s parent traditional home.
The beauty of stage show was the lightning. Ability to create and show to the admiration of the audience different timelines.
Created by Marian Ogaziechi and produced by Doyenne Circle, the musical stage play will fetch many accolades for the country globally.
‘Ada the Country’ no doubt will help mentor and motivate women, challenging them to be better than their best in everything from career to relationship and lifestyle.