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Glass Slippaz Struts It's Comedic Stuff

Drizella (Sharee McDonald-Russell) and Punella (Natalee Cole) are garishly fun

Glass Slippaz, the most recent production by Jambiz international is a restaging of their early 2000s hit, Cindy Relisha and the DJ Prince, one of their most hilarious and possibly most successful comedies to date. This restaging is a funny, entertaining production, but admittedly it has lost a little of its fairy dust, even though this is a much better name.

Based on the fairy tale Cinderella, the Patrick Brown penned play is co-directed by Brown and Trevor Nairne. In this telling, Cindy Relisha (Sakina Deer) lives with her stepfather (Brutus Cruff played by Courtney Wilson) and two wicked and fantastically un-pretty step-sisters Drizella (Sharee McDonald-Russell) and Punella Cruff (Natalee Cole). While Brutus, Drizella and Punella try to make Cindy’s life miserable she has only the yardboy Simple (Glen Campbell) and her fairy godfather, Tipsy (Donald Anderson) to turn to, and both of them are as inept as their names imply.

As with several of Jambiz’ previous productions, Glass Slippaz rests heavily on the shoulders of Glen Campbell who bears it with ease. Campbell is absolutely hilarious as Simple and he and Donald Anderson do create some comedic magic together on the stage. Donald Anderson is a fantastic comedic actor, and his return to the stage is very welcome. He is engaging and funny as Prince Sheggy (who now moTipsy (Donald Anderson) the inept fairy godfather and Cindy (Sakina Deer)re closely models Vibes Kartel than Shaggy) and Tipsy. Tipsy, a fairy godfather with no magical powers, and a penchant for the bottle and loose women, remains one of the gems of the production.

McDonald-Russell continues to prove her worth as a fantastic character actress and she is wonderfully garish and crude. Natalee Cole also delivers well in this role while Sakina Deer gives a solid performance, even though she is occasionally overshadowed by  the Cruff sisters and Tipsy.

Commendably, although they could have easily stayed over the top, the co-directors ensured that a touch of pathos in the potentially dramatic moments was retained, and it is in these moments that Deer proved her mettle. The play also benefits significantly from Deer’s vocals, and it was particularly thrilling to have live singing returned to the musicals.

Alas, the weakest link of this generally fine cast was Wilson who is just about able to hold is own with this role, hardly bringing much to the production. His performance makes me long to see Winston Bell in this role once more.

Glass Slippaz also benefits from strong technical elements making it a visually appealing production. Indeed, the ambitious set design threatens to outstrip the capacity of the small stage. The set is well-designed and executed but is a little overwhelming. TPunella and Drizella surround Simple (Glen Campbell)he costuming is striking and generally wonderfully achieved particularly in the case of the Cruff sisters as their costumes adequately captures their gawdy ridiculousness.

It's a hallmark of how long Jambiz has been around that they have now begun a process of recycling their most popular productions. They have previously remounted The Breadfruit Kingdom and The Last Stand (re-fashioned as Charlie's Angels). As with the other two, it is wonderful to see Glass Slippaz on the stage again, because the play is easily a Jamaican classic containing the elements of Brown’s comedic that have made their productions such successes. The characters are fun, the music is good and the writing is witty and engaging so even though unlike the first time I watched this, I did not almost hurt myself from laughing too hard, it is certainly worth watching.