Thursday 18 July, 2019

Tulloch’s bold realism in Sugar Daddy fires up theatre crowd

No sooner did the curtains open on stage did the cast burst into raunchy, jaw-dropping action on the set of David Tulloch’s latest production ‘Sugar Daddy’.

It is Jamaican theatre like you’ve never seen it before, the audience held in rapt attention by a spell-binding performance which elicited peals of laughter and at times enthralling cheering.

And yet there were some audience members, who, when the scenes got too intense, peeked from between their fingers.

Premiering at a New Kingston based playhouse on Emancipation Day 2018, Tulloch lines his stage with a nearly-naked cast, who literally and metaphorically, throw on and off the yoke of their stale relationships.

Tulloch gives the audience a fly on the wall perspective into the lives of two couples; George Leslie (Tulloch), his spouse Anita (Samantha Brevett), Kysann Williams (Trishana Wright), her significant other Jermaine (Rolando Fagan) and Moya (Kimberly Gray).

Deeply in tune with the chaotic realties of marriages on the edge, Tulloch’s latest production asks audiences to examine the "for richer, for poorer" component of wedding vows and how that squares with modern realities.

As expected from Tulloch’s 'exotic thriller comedies’ which are slowly becoming his admired trademark there was no shortage of on stage nudity, sex and profanity coalesced with the classic love having soured story.

Despite the heavy panting throughout the show, Tulloch explained that his main focus was on the story line which explored the dynamic issues involved when a marriage unravels.

“This is where Jamaica is,” said Tulloch, as he addressed critics who slammed his latest work, likening it to soft porn.

“Everything you saw on stage is just a re-enactment of everyday life- That’s how it really goes down inside households,” Tulloch told Loop’s Denieca Brown, who came out to see the play on Saturday.

It was a realism not frowned but embraced by Tulloch fans who were in no hurry to leave when the curtain closed in the intimate yet packed Blue Room.

Many patrons stayed behind to discuss the gripping performance.

There were those who praised Tulloch’s work, viewing it as having added a much need injection of authenticity into the local theatre landscape.

A former student of Tulloch’s (when he taught English at Wolmer’s High School ) who was in attendance at the show spoke of the playwright’s authenticity.

Commenting on what he had just seen, he said “ It was entertaining but very real”.

"The on screen action was in your face but again it was very real. The play was not afraid  to take on taboos that people are afraid to talk about," he added.

Veteran actor Clive Duncan, turned Financial Advisor, who caught the action from the front row, remarked, "This is my second time seeing this work by Tulloch and I would come again as this type of show has universal appeal". 

“ I am really trying to find a good word to encompass the experience….all I can come up with is it is real. Notice how it juxtaposes two entirely different Jamaican experiences but is able to find common ground…  triumph, accomplishment - it captures all these elements with a flavour true to the Jamaican experience," said Duncan.


Tulloch’s more conservative fan base were not reticent in sharing their observations of this work.

“It is not the sort of show, I personally would have gone to see without being cajoled and while I could have done without all that spice, however, the show did unmask many issues" said a female patron.

“You know how we like to pretty things up in Jamaica but this was raw and had emotional intensity,” added the woman who further noted her church congregation would not approve of her seeing such a show.

In line with a number of rave reviews,‘exotic thriller comedies’ appear to be a budding trend among theatre -goers, as one patron noted that she was pleasantly surprised by the existence of the genre.

" Sugar Dady was eye-opener for me; I wasn't aware of this genre. I was pleasantly surprised. It is social commentary at its finest," said Sanjie Clarke a Campaign Executive with a local digital media firm.


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