Theatre Review: COMA

COMA by Jude Idada
Oct. 30 – Nov. 3, 2013
Al Green Theatre
Reviewed by Lise Watson

The story of COMA will be familiar to many a sibling left with the responsibility of caring for an aging parent while the other members of the family do little.  In this case, we’re in Lagos, Nigeria and Osasu (Wale Ojo) returns home from his life in Canada at the request of his sister, Ifueko (Bridget Ogundipe).   Nana, their mother, is in a coma and they are faced with the difficult decision as to whether or not keep her on life support.

Not surprisingly, Osasu is the one who fights to keep her alive, in an effort to assuage his guilt for having essentially abandoned his mother to fulfill his dreams overseas.  In time, a deep family secret is revealed and all bets are off, with a seemingly immutable crisis having been reached.

The set is simple and effective, Nana in her hospital bed, the two children coming in and out, reminiscing, arguing.   Off to the side the soul of Nana (Lorraine Klaasen) appears only to the audience, anguishing about what is taking place on stage.

The cast of COMA is solid.   Lorraine Klaasen (the Quebec-based South African born singer) was superb as Nana. This was my first time to see her acting talents in action, and it was delightful.   Ojo, a well-established actor in Africa and the UK, was a treat to watch in a complex role as the feckless Osasu.  He and Ogundipe worked well together, with Ogundipe giving an excellent portrayal of a modern young Nigerian woman.

Lorraine Klaasen    Wale Ojo2

Playwright Jude Idada studied and graduated in theatre arts at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.  He is currently based in Toronto.  His considerable talents bring us a refreshing view of his home country and he is one to watch.  His other work includes the play Oduduwa: King of Edo, a short story collection, A Box of Chocolates, Celestica, a poetry collection and the novel, By My Own Hands.


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