Heartstrings returns with a bang


Heartstrings returns with a bang


A scene from the play “Betrothed in the church in the forbidden fruit”. PHOTOS | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG



  • Their return was long overdue as was evident from the floods that characterized don’t knock, another of the company’s crazy comedies.
  • As you’d expect, Covid-19 was supposed to feature somewhere in the show’s script.

Heartstrings Kenya is finally back. Their return was long overdue as was evident from the floods that characterized don’t knock, another of the company’s crazy comedies.

As usual, Heartstrings has taken current events and turned them into juicy jokes that come straight out of the ground where ordinary Kenyans have barely survived since the coronavirus arrived in Kenya early last year.

As you’d expect, Covid-19 was supposed to feature somewhere in the show’s script. Indeed, he appears at the end of Act 1 when his arrival leads to the abrupt cancellation of an event entertainment group’s big effort to organize a 250 million shillings walk for sick children traveling to India.

Paul Ogola as Chrispinus leads the organizing team, which has already been interrupted by beautiful women. First comes the “grieving professional” (Machrine Andala), then the charming manager of the Jazzy company (Adelyne Nimo) and finally Ogola’s delightful wife, Katalina (Bernice Nthenye).

Ogola’s absence from office with Jazzy isn’t conspicuous. Her consequences only appear in the second act when you recognize her as the single mother who comes to ask for child support for Ogola’s son. Only now, she is no longer slim and sexy. She is angry and adamant that Ogola does her part to help her son’s upbringing.

If the show doesn’t sound funny at this point, rest assured, the cast is never short of jokes and jokes that make audiences laugh and prepare them to appreciate the satire of everyone from the president and MPs to gospel singers and boss Chrispinus who he is both a bully and a scammer.

For example, after Katalina contributed 10,000 shillings to plans for an employee’s wedding, Ogola gives the man only 2,000 shillings. And when the day Katalina shows up for work is found out, she makes up such stupid excuses that you know she can even ignore her son’s upbringing.

But Ogola gets his due in the second act. This is when we get to the really concise part of the game. It is also when the crew brings Covid and lockdown home in their story. For now, we have an inside perspective of what actually happened in the families who were stuck at home together during the pandemic.

We see that previously, Chris and Katalina knew each other just before the block. Or at least they didn’t know all the serious secrets that each had hidden from the other.

At the start of the show, Bernice begins her typical morning with yoga exercises. But in his workout clothes and without his long-haired wig and makeup, Ogola doesn’t recognize his wife!

But this is only the beginning. The blockade has also led to unemployment, eviction threats and the grassroots struggle to put food on the table as cash is now in short supply. All of these problems emerge in the second act as both Chris and Katalina have lost their jobs. But apparently, they’ve lost a lot more.

The innocent-looking Katalina had taken the family title deed, sold it to buy “better properties” from the scammers, and had never told Chris until then what she had done.

But as bad as it is, when single mother Jazzy shows up to insist on child support, the fireworks start flying. Chris is trapped like a mouse. His stance against his wife’s secret “bad earth” seems to pale in the face of the arrival of the “other woman” and the news of his secret love child.

He tries to hide his secret by blaming Katalina, first for telling her mother about their poverty and then for plotting with her aunt to get a job with an MP.

But the whole situation erupts when Ogola’s mother (Machrine Andala) shows up and discovers she has a grandson that her son has denied.

Katalina seems flabbergasted by the whole thing, especially after Jazzy discovers she has never cooked for Chris. He only ordered from an expensive food delivery service.

In the end, Chris’s mom turns the tide. She is upset about the basic facts on the pitch, especially the fact that there is a little boy, her grandson, who insists he will no longer be neglected. He must have a father, and Chris, Katalina, and even Jazzy have to face this fact, he says.

They’ll have to work out the details, but its moralistic outburst brings the resolution to a messy situation that only Heartstrings could come up with, picking up pieces from people’s daily lives.

Great show but heavy editing is needed to tighten the flow.


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