From the music, dance and acting to the themes and message, the recent reenactment of Flower the Musical is undoubtedly Gbenga Yusuf’s best work with the MTN Foundation.
For theatre lovers, Flower the Musical surely rings a bell. The production has become of Nigeria’s most talked about musicals in recent times. The musical follows the story of six women – a faithful wife, an accused murderer, a corporate leader, a religious hopeful, a trophy wife and a sex worker, who navigate complex issues relating to their existence in modern Nigerian society while promoting the emancipation of discriminated women.
The six leads were played by incredibly talented women and labelled accordingly to their struggles to reflect the complexity and multifaceted of the problems women face:
- Tosin Adeyemi played the Woman by the Book, a victim of female genital mutilation with a cheating husband who waited for five years in hopes that her husband would return home and fall in love with her again. Her husband, on the other hand, would prefer to remain with a sex worker called, Lady of the Night.
- Lady of the Night was played by the incredibly talented Waje. She had a cold exterior and didn’t seem to mind that some of her “clients” were married men. Even though she appeared to love her job and perverse sense of power, we discover that she was only putting up a front and was frustrated with it. She had been raped by her father and had become a sex worker to escape the trauma.
- Nini Mbonu played the Trophy Wife, who got married to satisfy her mother. Her life seemed perfect, but she is infantilized and treated like another piece on her husband’s collection of shiny things. We see that she had a completely different vision for her life and felt trapped living with her husband.
- Elvina Ibru embodied the Woman by the Book character, a religious woman who is unable to conceive after several years in marriage. She feels compelled by societal expectations to procreate and becomes desperate as she approaches menopause.
- Oluchi Odii plays a Woman in Prison Uniform who kills her rapist and is thrown in jail. She is rebuked by everyone who couldn’t understand why she had resorted to taking revenge on the man who raped her.
- Boss Lady is played by Ufuoma McDermott. She is one of the biggest Lawyers in the city. She is a very successful woman who reached the peak of her career, but not without having to work twice as hard as her male counterparts. Despite her success, she doesn’t win the love and respect of her parents who made it clear that they would have preferred a male child.
The storytelling in Flower the Musical was compelling with musical and dance numbers from different genres meshing together flawlessly. Elvina Ibru’s musical performance was a pleasant surprise. Her rich tone resonated through the Glover Hall and held all in attendance spellbound. Waje also delivered a stunning dance number as she introduced us to Lady of the Night. Overall, all the ladies understood the assignment. Give them their flowers!