A review of "Not Until"
The title itself suggests some level of tension, expectations of sorts but I did not expect what unfolded. I stepped into the Arawak on night three to witness what the New Dimensions Theatre had to offer this time around. I anticipated the veteran cast of Coipel and ace female actor Blackmore and thought that it was probably one of the regular unity-and-coming-together themes which has been dominant throughout the years. It was not.
NDT and its director Steve Hyacinth pulled out what I think is one of their most dramatic thrillers staged by the group in this decade. The spellbound audience saw marriage and the virtues of fidelity as well as the evils of infidelity through the eyes of lead debutant Jude Cuffy (as Mr. Dan Gilbert a hardware store owner) and Nawana Shillingford in her role as Miss Jacklyn Delany.
The latter displayed some promise in a previous NDT production and so this time she was entrusted to a more dominant role which she executed with the grace and finesse of a runner up in the 2016 National Queen Show only this time as a Londoner who returned home on a promise of marriage to Mr. Dan Gilbert.
Jude Cuffy, for a debutant, was just as effective in his role; his fiancé kept him away from her bed, not until the ring was put on her finger. One can only begin to imagine the drama which ensued daily as he used all his guile to woo her to the bed and long-dreamt-of-sex as he flirted with his maid Antoinette who became the subject of a host of rumours about their sexual involvement.
While not wanting to commit Dan knew just as his store manager and fiancé friend Odessa Elie (Trudy Goodman) that Jacklyn was special and should not be kept dangling, uncertain about a commitment and a date for marriage.
True to her good name (Trudy Goodman) competently portrayed by the 2015 National Queen, she was entrusted and confided in by both parties and like Bigg Knox (care taker of Mr. Brice Bayley's estate played by Mickeal Desbonnes) agreed that his friend was indeed "forming de fool" to let such a quality woman escape his grasp all because he was afraid to commit.
Mr. Brice Bayley, another debutant, really added some flair and style to the production with his glamourous attire and bling and his accentuated gait and style. His colorful representation was done by Leslie St Jean, a character who no doubt has a lot of promise. His position as Mr. Gilbert's landlord constantly put him in conflict as one who did not do the repairs required to bathroom tiles and leaks.
Well, the landlord being a ladies' man himself and one who made it his duty to use his tenant's yard as a thoroughfare "dropped in" and promised to take care of the repairs only to please the beautiful bride to be (Jacklyn Delany).
The frequency of the exasperated cries 'POOOH' by Dan Gilbert (Jude Cuffy) was countered by the 'Aie Aie's of Knox; as the former tried to make sense of the 'not until' frustrations of Jacklyn who vowed to ' never give it up' and the murder accusations made by Sergeant Rock, Constable Brown and Marks played by Tonillia Eli, Ahnice Breedy and dark –spectacled Kelvon David respectively. Though their entrances were brief, the three officers of the law were businesslike and professional in their execution of their duties
Landlord Mr. Bayley was not the only one keeping tabs or peeping in on how the 'couple was doing', but so was Big Knox (who knew all secrets) made it a duty to provide a constant supply of coconut water, from the estate to cool the obvious tension at the home and to win over the trust of Ms. Delany.
Things erupted when the huge and ferocious Miss Rosette Cooper ( played by Melisha Joseph) made a dramatic appearance on stage, baseball bat in hand to unleash a barrage of blows in the direction of the unsuspecting Mr. Dan Gilbert for making a fool of her daughter and not committing to the marriage he promised. Luckily Knox was equal to the task as he knocked her down on the sofa where she broke down in a rage of tears. Well whether it was this onslaught, which by the way delighted the audience, or a realization that he must stop being a play boy for once, Mr. Gilbert decided no more advances on his own appointed manager and there was no need for delving in Viagra if he kept getting the cold shoulder of Not Until….
Finally, Miss Rosette Cooper was happy, her "son in law', much to her delight, did not only set the date for tying the knot, but signed to made her daughter co -owner of the store and a signatory to his account before the actual ceremony!
But the joyous moment and wedding speeches were short lived, as Sergeant Rock and her team were to interrupt a planned honeymoon for the Cayman Islands as revelations were made as to what actually happened to former maid and possibly lover.
A bloody pants and shirt could not be denied, followed by the all-knowing Knox's incriminating account as the constables slowly released their hold on Dan Gilbert and Sergeant Rock moved closer and closer to Mr. Brice Bayley. Effects of cars pulling in and out, two National Queens showcased, suspense, convincing action, wonderfully intriguing; 9 out of 10 stars.