The first Afrobeats musical Oliva Tweest returned to the stage again last weekend. Oliva Tweest prides itself on being a one of a kind a theatre production that is a mix of old and new and a celebration of African culture.
The musical is based on hit song Oliver Twist by Nigerian superstar D’banj and is about the cocky ladies man Tobi played by Tolulope ‘Tboy’ Ogunmefun. Tobi’s womanizing ways are tested when he falls for pastor’s daughter Testimony played by Vicky Sola. Testimony has to keep her singing dreams a secret from her father who only wishes to see her sing in her church.
The musical discusses parental pressure, romance, African culture amongst other things against the backdrop of a creative afrobeats soundtrack. Many fan favourites such as Wiz Kid’s Pakuromo and of course the musical’s name sake Oliva Tweest.
The soundtrack consists of popular afrobeats being reimagined songs that are revamped by the live band and choir. It was also nice to notice that the musical did not just focus on Nigerian and Ghanaian anthems and Congolese music was also paid tribute.
Apart from great songs, great dancers and actors also made the night a hit. The enigmatic azonto dancers got the crowd exctited as they showed off their skills.
The crowd was guided through the play by a narrator who used a drum that is a nod to Nigerian tradition. The narrator played by Michael Charles-Odimayo
added humour and authenticity to the play with his infectious charm.
Other standout performances were supplied by Toby’s mother played by Joy Mbakwe. Her chemistry with Testimony’s father played by Emmanuel Imani stole the show. Imani’s depiction of the typical African dad was hilarious and his comedic timing was impeccable.
All in all the show was a delight. Wonderfully written by young playwright and Hackney native Nana Duncan and acted amazingly by the charismatic cast this was not a show to be missed.