Heartbeat, a romantic musical that tells the story of a homeless shelter, Grace House, and it explores Lagos, the heartbeat of Nigeria. Relationships, the heartbeat of love and hope, the heartbeat of life.
The play combines drama, music and dance featuring Nollywood star Femi Jacobs, Big Brother celeb Thin Tall Tony (TTT) and a host of other talented artists.
Heartbeat is a romantic musical that tells the story of a shelter, Grace House, which unites a reformed rebel leader, an optimistic photographer and a young man in search of his parents. When they come face to face with their fate, they are moved to move on a journey of hope, love and faith.
The show started with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem which sort of put the entire audience in awe and great expectation of what was to come.
The play opens by introducing us to some of the cast of the show with a beautiful music and dance performance.
Let me start with the vocal performance of the cast. Considering that they were singing and dancing energetically at the same time, they were still able to maintain their calm such that we couldn't hear any of them panting through the mic neither was anyone of them trying so hard to catch his/her breath. Every cast in the play sang his/her part so well that you could literally feel the love, hurt or pain in their voice whenever they sang, none of them sang off-key or off-beat and the instrumentalist were awesome as well. It was really a good blend of music and dance.
The acting performances of the entire cast were pretty much like watching a super dope Hollywood movie, only that this time, it was Nigerian theatre art. Kudos to them. The acting was pretty real so much that the audience exclaimed at a stabbing scene and a slap scene. How can I forget to mention the scene of the TV host, her camera man and her producer. One that got me seriously laughing all night.
Less I forget, I loved all the details included in the play. For the phone dialling scene, we could hear the typical dialling sound that comes with punching the keys of a phone. Each time the photojournalist took a picture, we heard the "chaal" sound that comes with clicking the camera button. The scene that described the fading, yet the disturbing noise of a generator had it's own sound to compliment that as well as the blinking lights to give us a full view of what was happening. Party scenes were party scenes indeed plus a whole lot of other important details which went into the play.
The lightings, sound, stage arrangement, costumes and makeup were perfectly organised to fit into the context of the play.
The story unfolded in a classic manner, commencing with the establishment of characters and later bringing these characters together in the setting of Grace House, where their purpose and lives would intertwine. Culture and a little bit of religion also spiced up the play, however it was good that much focus was not put on religion, but on moral standing because of the diversity of the audience.
In addition to its entertainment value, Heartbeat is strongly hinged on the Nigerian reality. Some familiar subjects, such as riots, corruption, power cuts, the consequent dependence on fuel and generators and the persistent discontent with government and its officials take up a massive chunk of its story.
I must confess, the play got me wishing I could sing, dance and act, all at the same time.