HOLLYWOOD, CA - In
the heart of Hollywood is the hippest musical this year by far. J.O.B.
The Hip-Hopera tells two parables, from the Bible’s book of Jobe
and the tale of Cain and Abel, in the appropriate setting of Los
Angeles using a Hip Hop Record label as a backdrop.
In what could have been hokey
and cheesy on paper has turned into an internationally acclaimed
fringe festival hit, winning Best New Play from the Montreal English
Critics Circle. The script is smart, strong and hilarious.
Written by and starring
Jerome Sable and Eli Batalion, two individuals who not only shine in
their performance but leave a mark that these two are force to be
reckoned with. Sable and Batalion take on the challenge of performing
10 roles, at times taking one role from the other. They excel in humor
and never once lose a character in transition. Hats off to a job well
Directed by the award winning
Stefan Novinski and talented choreographer Hassan Christopher, this
musical is a non-stop visually entertaining piece of theater. The
dancers - Shawn Beck-Gifford, Marissa Labog, Naomi Rhoads, Aimee
Zannoni and Hassan Christopher – prove to be a gifted ensemble
supporting the leads. Kudos to Ms. Labog – she may be small, but the
girl will dance circles around anyone who challenges her.
Musically, the show
intelligently mixes classical music with hip-hop that may haunt some
theatergoers. The audience is even treated to a live DJ, in the name
of DJ Celebrity, before the action begins to ‘set the mood’. Smart
thinking. Also showcased is the talent of Nikkema Taylor, the sole
female vocalist. She will appear whenever a high note is needed.
Unfortunately, that’s the only time when one will see or hear her.
The sound and lighting design
are also on target bringing the feel of being in a club just off of
On a bonus note, in case the
audience member feels lost or missed any of the plot - the actors
gleefully recap the audience near the close in an inspired comedy
piece and one of the best moments of the show.
Don’t let thoughts of the
Bible or the notion that it’s a musical without an orchestra cloud
the brain that would prevent your attendance. This show is a definite
must see. And there isn’t much time left - this production, which
opened late October, was been blessed with an extension and must close
on December 11th.
So go Hip Hop a stop at J.O.B.
- Adrian Rennie