Wakaa! The Musical – review
Shaw Theatre

Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 1:01 PM | Review by: Ronke Lawal |
Wakaa the Musical comes to London Wakaa the Musical comes to London

The Nigeria based cast is splendid, with so many great performances that it would take too much time to list them all.

Wakaa! The Musical” (see listing) is the first Nigerian musical production to be shown in London’s West End and like most things that are from Nigeria is has made a huge impact. Based around the lives of a group of young graduates the story follows the characters along their journey of self-discovery. From romantic attachments to major career decisions and international excursions the story brings together a series of major life events that lead to a series of twists and turns that are wonderfully pulled together with a Nigerian music of all genres.


The Nigeria based cast is splendid, with so many great performances that it would take too much time to list them all. The Braggadocious Rex (Jolomi Amuka) is a joy on stage and his rendition of Fela Kuti’s “Lady” is something truly special, the energy in the room was mesmerising. The central love story played by Patrick Diabuah and Nengi Adoki was sweet and warmly portrayed but it was overshadowed by other side stories.


Wakaa the Musical comes to London Wakaa the Musical comes to London

The musical score is absolutely fantastic but the comedic flow and choreography of this production are to be savoured and celebrated.


My favourite sub plot being that of “The Governor” played by Bimbo Manuel who was just fantastic, I could see my father and uncles through his portrayal of a Nigerian “Big Man”. The scenes featuring his debates and meetings with Professor Jojoba played by Ozzy Agu had the audience in stiches, they made me wish we could rewind scenes just to watch them in action again.


Wakaa! is not just a musical this is an experience, a glimpse into Nigerian culture and the essence of a country that though not without its challenges still manages to shine brightly on the continent of Africa. The musical score is absolutely fantastic but the comedic flow and choreography of this production are to be savoured and celebrated. The stage settings were very simple and uncomplicated and though more consideration could have been put into the stage design the overall colourful nature of the production made up for whatever may have been lacking. The costumes were as glamourous and fabulous, with my favourites being the traditional wedding dancers who highlighted the true authenticity of this musical.


Wakaa the Musical comes to London Wakaa the Musical comes to London

What an absolute delight this production was. It is such a shame that it has such a short run but with the response that it has had from London based media and the audience, the producers have social responsibility to bring it back. Bolanle Austen-Peters and her team out did themselves here, providing members of The Nigerian diaspora and anyone who just wants to be entertained with the true definition of entertainment - Naija style!



Info: Wakaa! ran at The Shaw Theatre from 21-25 July | See listing




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