Review: HER PORTMANTEAU at George Street Playhouse-A Powerful and Important Play Excellently Presented

HER PORTMANTEAU at George Street Playhouse

By: Oct. 16, 2022
Review: HER PORTMANTEAU at George Street Playhouse-A Powerful and Important Play Excellently Presented

"I have not lived to see this age and know nothing." By Abasiama in Her Portmanteau

George Street Playhouse (GSP) located at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) opens their 2022-2023 Season with Her Portmanteau, a play that touches the mind and heart. Superbly written by Mfoniso Udofia, exceptionally directed Laiona Michelle, and with a stellar cast, the story is a sensitive, thoughtful portrayal of a family's challenges. The show will be presented through October 30th.

The play is set at JFK Airport and in an Inwood apartment in January of 2014 on one of the coldest days of the year. Her Portmanteau tells of Iniabasi Ekpeyong who is the daughter of Abasiama Ufot and the half-sister of Adiaha Ufot. When Iniabasi leaves Nigeria and arrives in the United States to be united with her family, things are not as she expected. Tensions quickly rise amongst the three women. Yet, they make efforts to discover common ground within their cultural heritage and to realize the significance of the bonds they hold. This drama with its clever touches of humor about mother and daughter relationships is wholly relatable.

Review: HER PORTMANTEAU at George Street Playhouse-A Powerful and Important Play Excellently Presented

The three-person cast is consistently excellent in their performances. The company includes Jennean Farmer as Adiaha Ufot; Shannon Harris as Iniabasi Ekpeyong, and Mattilyn Kravitz as Abasiama Ufot. Jackquelyn Graham serves as the understudy for the three characters.

Review: HER PORTMANTEAU at George Street Playhouse-A Powerful and Important Play Excellently Presented

Scenes are so well depicted, it seems as though the events are unfolding in real time. Some of the unforgettable moments include Iniabasi's arrival at JFK; Adiaha proudly bringing Iniabasi to her apartment in NYC; Iniabasi answering a cell phone call from her young son in Nigeria; Adiaha's impatience with Iniabasi's contentious behavior; Abasiama trying to calm Adiaha; Adiaha preparing food with "Jiffy" mix; Abasiama seeing a photo of her grandson for the first time; Abasiama attempting to explain her husband's illness to Iniabasi; and Abasiama discovering the contents in the old portmanteau case brought from Nigeria by Iniabasi.

Review: HER PORTMANTEAU at George Street Playhouse-A Powerful and Important Play Excellently Presented

The talented design and production team has created an ideal setting for the show with scenic design by Shoko Kambara; lighting design by Cheyenne Sykes; costume design by Gregory J. Horton; and sound design by Karen Graybash. Original music is by Inza Bamba; language consultant, Ebbe Bassey; dialect coach, Maggie Surrovell; Production Manager, Christopher J. Bailey; Production Stage Manager; and casting by McCorkle Casting.

As Artistic Director, David Saint said in his address to the audience on opening night, "Spread the word." Metro area audiences have come to expect the highest level of theatre at George Street Playhouse. Her Portmanteau is another example of the fine shows that the theatre produces.

Performances of Her Portmanteau will continue through October 30. George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 in the heart of the city's vibrant entertainment and dining area with plenty of parking and mass transit options available. The Box office is open for phone sales at 732-246-7717. You can also visit the GSP web site at https://georgestreetplayhouse.org/. Subscribers save 20% or more on full-season packages and discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more.

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson



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