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Oliver brings ‘bellyful of laughs’ to Victoria Park

Oliver brings ‘bellyful of laughs’ to Victoria Park


by Vanesta Murphy 21.JUL.06
Comedian extraordinaire Oliver Samuels, Glen Campbell and a cast of highly – acclaimed Jamaican actors took to the stage on Friday, July 14 to entertain Victoria Park with “Class of ‘73” which Samuels promised would be a “bellyful of laughs”. The show, hosted by Rotary Club South, to assist approximately 20 children in SVG who are in need of live-saving surgery.

The cast included Courtney Wilson, who scooped the Best Supporting Actor Award for his work in last year’s production “Vibe”. Sharee Russell is an original member of dance troop Ashe. Camille Davis, who is the youngest cast member, has only been on the drama scene for two years, but has already been awarded Best Actress. The cast also includes the Jambiz Krew.{{more}}

Even with a backdrop of thunder and lightning, Samuels held his own. The show started late and at the beginning the cast seemed to be trying a little too hard. However, by the 2nd act “Class of ‘73” picked up momentum. The cast members worked their way through the rain to pull off a very professional production and made good on Samuels’ promise. The musical interludes broke up the slight monotony between the acts. Punch lines were delivered on cue and had the audience in fits of laughter. Kleptomaniac Head Boy Milo dropped lines like “God give everybody brains but he forget to give some ah we de manual” and was rewarded with raucous approval from the audience.

One of the high points of the show was when bigotted principal “Drop-Short” illustrated the scientific explanation as to why darker children found it harder to learn than their lighter-skinned counterparts. His take was that the sun is attracted to dark surfaces and baked the brains of the darker skinned ‘6Z’ children. Additional characters, such as the Go-Go dancer “Hurricane Hottie”, mother of the students, aided in giving the show more depth. However, Oliver Samuels was definitely the star that shone the brightest. He stole every scene that he was played in. His character B.B Bringle (the mercenary teacher of 6Z) called for audience participation, because the location of the show and the inclement weather members of the Rotary Club South (RCS) had to step in and fill the places that audience members would have undoubtedly taken, had the show been held in a hall.

“Class of ‘73” is about a group of children getting ready to sit the Common Entrance Examination, and the people involved in their learning. In the last act we are brought up to present day and shown what these children that society wrote off amounted to.

Anyone who missed this presentation missed a great display of comedic talent. Who can say when we will see Oliver Samuels ever again doing the “Willy Bounce”?

Samuels said that he was happy to be in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and proud to make better lives for children. He said he felt honoured that they were being used to assist in this important venture and hopes that he will continue to be asked back.

Fellow cast member Glen Campbell expressed his happiness at this his 3rd trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and said that he liked the laid-back feel of the island.

Stage Manager Lenford Soloman said that when he got a call three years ago from the past Rotary Club South President Reginald Thomas, he couldn’t say no, and had no problem with coming to St. Vincent and the Grenadines because of what the proceeds were in aid of. He said that this production is significant and ties in well with the RCS’ cause. “The show looks at children to whom society gave no chance and what happened to them, and what they went on to become.”

The Rotary Club South has been affiliated with the International Hospital for Children since 2001, and has since helped saved the lives of many children.