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As I stand on the queue waiting to get into the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, venue of Saro 2 The Musical, I spot through the corner of my eye, Amina Oyagbola, Human Resource Executive MTN and female corporate Nigeria don chatting with what appears to be her husband and friends. Later in the evening, as I make my way to the ladies, I sight leading Nigerian designer Deola Sagoe, making her way into the hall.
Sasha, Omawumi, Timi Dakolo and even political heavy weights like the Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Lagos state governorship aspirant, Jimi Agbaje and Presidential aspirant, Gen Mohammed Buhari (Rtd) were only just some of the high profilers who came out to watch the phenomenal Saro 2 The Musical.
Indeed Saro 2 The Musical was a production fit for the stars. Boasting a 100-man cast which included Bimbo Manuel, Gideon Okeke, Ade Laoye, Dolapo Oni amongst others, Saro chronicles the journey of 4 young men from a village in Delta who sojourn to Lagos in search of greener pastures. However, an otherwise simple plot was brought to life by brilliant acting, music and dance display.
I chose to attend the 6pm show on the 27th and although it started about 30 minutes late, the tardiness was quickly forgiven from the second the first set of actors stepped on stage. Before the show started, we had been advised to either turn off our phones or put them on silent mode. We were also urged to remain on our seats but feel free to stump our feet or laugh out loud in excitement - we couldn't be better warned. For the next 2 hours of the 14-act musical, we stumped, laughed and stumped our feet some more.
In the first act we are quickly introduced to Azeez, Obaro, Efe and Laitan played by Gideon Okeke, Paul Alumona, Sisiano Paolo (of fashion label Sisiano) and Patrick Dibuah respectively. The 4 young men are talented singers who have concluded plans to go to Lagos where they have a better shot "to blow". Meanwhile, Laitan and Rume are 2 young lovers who are faced with the prospect of separating - first because Rume's father doesn't approve of Laitan and also because Laitan's friends want him to come with them to Lagos.
Things move along quickly as the boys get to Lagos and manage to get arrested and locked up on their first day. But they're not out of luck for long as fate leads them to Don Ceeto (played by Bimbo Manuel), a rich and influential talent scout who bails them out. Thus begins their journey to "blowing". Ronke, (played by Dolapo Oni in some shows) Don Ceeto's daughter's infatuation and seduction of Efe leaves us in stitches every time the pair are on stage. So does Ebony Life TV's Ade Laoye who gives a good account of herself playing Jane, Don Ceeto's efficient personal assitant. There is also Obaro's constant reference to the boys "blowing" which after a while, the audience choruses along with him.
...and just when we thought things couldn't get any more hilarious, we were treated to a rendition of John Legend's "All of Me" done in Fuji! 4 words - better heard than imagined! Indeed, every minute of Saro 2 The Musical was truly unforgettable and by curtain call, the audience was surging to its feet to give a standing ovation.Vibrant, colourful and definitely the high point of my yuletide season, Saro 2 The Musical was well worth the hype - and every panic attack I had in the process of trying to get a ticket, but that's a chronicle for another day...