Regional Reviews: Raleigh/Durham
Bob Marley's Three Little Birds
Also see Garrett's review of Life of Galileo
Unsurprisingly, the story takes place on the island of Jamaica and features a young boy named Ziggy (a delightful Jireh Ijeoma), who would rather stay inside and watch TV than explore the wonders of the island. He lives in fear of what ifshurricanes, mongoose attacks, and other scary things that might happen outside the safety of his homeso he prefers to spend his time with his closest friends, those three little birds: Tacooma (Joshua Johnson), Montego (Chanda Branch), and Doctor Bird (a terrific Benaiah Barnes). He is eventually persuaded to go outside by Nansi (a delightful Seanna Osborne), and his fears are put to the test when they encounter the dreaded Duppy, a malevolent spirit (performed brilliantly by JaJuan Cofield). But this is a child-friendly production, and before it is over, every little thing has turned out alright.
Under the direction of Deb Royals-Mizerk, the Gaddy-Goodwin has been transformed into a pocket of Jamaica, featuring imaginative scenic design by Jeannine Borzello, beautiful lighting by Ryann Norris, and above it all a four-piece band (under the attentive eye of music director Ronzel Bell). Costume design by Jeremy Clos provides the richest visual splendor, fully evoking this world of vibrant color and creative patterns. Natural artifacts and native craft from the Caribbean islands serve as inspiration for Mr. Clos's designs, especially the costumes of the three birds and Duppy, which are among the most striking to have graced a stage of Raleigh Little Theatre.
The play, which runs at about an hour, is a fitting fable for today's young people, many of whom might share Ziggy's preference for screens (whether they be TV, tablets or smartphones). But it clearly is also a love letter to Bob Marley's home. One memorable number introduces a number of other birds (again in magnificent costumes by Mr. Clos) to provide a brief history lesson of Jamaica and all the cultures from across the world that influenced its development. No matter how young or old you are, you will leave the theatre with a happy tune in your heart.
A sensory-friendly performance of this production will be given on Saturday, March 30, at 1:00 p.m., designed especially for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other disabilities. On Saturday, March 16, local reggae band Jamrock will give an even grander taste of the island's music, performing from 2:30-4:00 p.m. in the Gaddy-Goodwin Theatre lobby.
Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, through March 24, 2019, at Raleigh Little Theatre, Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh NC. Tickets can be purchased online at www.raleighlittletheatre.org or by phone at 919-821-3111.
Based on a story by Cedella Marley