The field for quality production in Nigeria’s cine-verse is getting bigger and wider. This era, call it ‘New Nollywood’ if you will, is often marked by good scripting and even better directing with decent musical scores to boot, subtitling is usually ‘on point’ and – no – the grossly uncomfortable Part 1 to Part 10 is absent.
Since Blessing Effiom Egbe (B’concept Productions) had the first bite of the pie with the uber-successful ‘Lekki Wives’, there has been a mad dash for the market with other companies picking up the gauntlet.
ROKSTUDIOS steps up the plate with ‘Festac Town’, a show that promises to take us inside the ‘secret lives of the upper, middle, and lower class living in Festac. Their fears, tears, pains and victories.’ I absolutely love the ensemble cast of tested industry hands and a generous sprinkling of fresh faces.
Created and Produced by Mary Remmy Njoku and Directed by Abbey Esho; ‘Festac Town’ promises to be a story of crime, power and love.
Episode 1 starts rather slowly. We get introduced to a lot of people very quickly. Ada Ameh portrayal as Madam Bendel is hilarious. You couldn’t help but feel that all that ‘talent’ at cussing was unscripted. Then we meet Silver (Oge Okoye) and Boniface( Kelvin Ikeduba) – a seeming Bonnie and Clyde narrative – as they honeytrap randy married men to extort money. It was really uncomfortable watching Silver as she exchanged in heavy petting and necking with her victim. Both the kisser and the ‘kissee’ were not at ease and you could see the relief when Boniface came in, with mock anger, to bust them up. Boniface seems to be the local crime co-ordinator in Festac Town, an enforcer of some sorts and Silver just wants him to man up and put a ring on her finger.
Most of the verbal exchange in this episode is done in Pidgin English and teaspoons of Yoruba. This is not unexpected in order for the character portrayals to be appropriate, besides the denizens of Festac area of Lagos are not renown for pristine diction. Yes, there are translations at the bottom of the screen, but sometimes, it is all too easy for those not schooled in ‘Pidgin’ to get lost
Fast forward to Joshua Richards (Solomon), the young son of Chief P (Kunle Coker) is strolling down the wrong path and mixing with the wrong kinds of people. First we see him going to create a key duplicate (that is never a good sign) and by the end of the episode, he joins up to rob James and Clara.
Ahh. . .and then we have the dancing duo – Janet and Jane (Binta and Jemila Bulama). The producers made sure these twins were identical down to the last p – from their woven unkempt hair to their tattered green rubber slippers. Whoever taught them to dance should be applauded as the twins’ dance choreography was beautiful. We also meet Justina (Mary Remmy Njoku), the mother of the twins, as she juggles the baby in her womb with her extra-uterine problems.
Fast and light, Episode 1 is really determined to introduce as many cast members as possible as we breeze from scene to scene. The producers really did make an effort into making the show setting as realistic as possible, seeing Young Lawyer (Blossom Chukwujekwu) brush his teeth with ‘pure water’ showed how much attention was paid to minutiae.
James (Keppy Ekpeyong) was simply cantankerous in this scene; playing Mr. Grouchy to everyone from his wife – Clara (Vivian Anani) to the police men investigating the robbery attack on he and his wife.
Seeing Tina Mba was nostalgic for me. I didn’t know she was still in the game.
To discuss Episode 1 properly would be quite lengthy, I believe the depth was sacrificed on the altar of latitude in order to really get the show going by the second episode.
Anyway, Festac Town has the promise of a good show, the ensemble cast promising a lot of story lines. Let’s see how it goes.You can catch Festac Town on irokotv.com