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A Critique on the Play "Assistant Thief" Directed by Trevor Nairne

Updated on May 3, 2016

Trevor Nairne successfully directed the play "Assistant Thief" at the Centerstage Theater on October 6, 2006 at 8:00 pm. Oliver Samuels, Glenroy Campbell, along with the rest of the cast and crew, used their talents to bring to life Patrick Brown's thought provoking comedy portraying some hidden truths of the local upper class. Nairne and Brown successfully disclosed that many of the atrocious acts performed by the wider society and lower classes do affect and are in fact carried out by the upper class.

A distressed and redundant factory worker and a dense but ludicrous homeless man consecutively break into the basement of a rich and seemingly upstanding Member of Parliament (MP) in Cherry Gardens, Jamaica. A deceitful young woman who was constantly being abused by her father, the MP, happened upon them and tried to befriend them. She told them of her plan to sneak out of the house and run away during a costume party her family will be hosting. Instead, she framed them for the murder of her father.

The actors' performances were an overall passable attempt at showing the reality and conformity of the Jamaican society. Nairne's directing and the actors' portrayal of their characters made it easy to grasp the personalities of the characters.

Glenroy Campbell - Joe James

Glenroy Campbell competently portrayed Joe James to be a man of middle class who had recently come upon hard times. Joe James' intention was to steal all that he could and sell them to support his girlfriend, Apple. Campbell however, failed miserably to delineate the character in a realistic manner. This made his character seem very petulant, instead of the slightly good-natured yet frustrated man intended.

Oliver Samuels - Moses Matterland

Oliver Samuels' portrayal of the simple-minded and indifferent Moses Matterland was captivating and entertaining. His series of mindless activities added even more humor to an already humorous production. Samuels is known for his ability to convince his audience without a doubt, that he is someone else. This uncanny ability complimented the playwright's successful description of the personality of Samuels' character.

Christopher Hutchinson - Police Officer

When compared to the intelligent and self-controlled police officer expected, the police officer depicted by Christopher Hutchinson's Performance was a total disappointment. His fight with Moses and Joe looked ridiculously mechanical and he walked around the room seemingly unsure of his role.

His performance could have been much improved had he fully assimilated his character. Also, if Nairne had looked realistically and attentively at Hutchinson's perfect imitation of a fumbling retard and corrected him.


Costume Designer

The costume designer should be commended. The costumes were exceptionally done and fitting for the production. Samuels' costume was especially fitting for his character. The dirty drab clothes made him look as if he had been living on the streets for a few days. He had confirmed his state of homelessness in the first scene.


The small proscenium stage at the Centerstage Theater in New Kingston was transformed into a colorful basement. This was the safe-haven for the MP's daughter. The design of the basement created a feeling of intimacy with the audience and created a 'homey' and feminine atmosphere.

A small round table stood in the center of the room with a chair around it. The bathroom and closet, which were on opposite sides of the room, were well used by the actors.

The set design was cultured and fitting for the production and so was the lighting. The lighting, operated by Mark Rush and Eyvrine Wright, was good but not veritable. Throughout the play, there was a small yet obvious pause between the characters switching the lights off and the lights actually going off. This withdrew the feelings of reality from the production.

This lighting issue could have been avoided had the stage manager, or Rush and Wright, properly timed the changes. Besides this flaw however, the neutral lighting complimented the colorful set and made it seem very realistic.

Despite the shortcomings in this production, Trevor Nairne, Patrick Brown, the cast, and crew must be commended. Judging from the scores of laughter from the audience, they were all satisfied and comfortable.

Overall, I think the play was a good one and one worth watching. My expectations of a humorous production were met.



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    • Loi-Renee profile image

      Loi-Renee 5 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you Cardisa. This was actually one of my assignments from High School Theatre Arts class.

      Glen was actually one of the robbers. He was the redundant factory worker. I agree he is no 'chameleon' like Oliver but the casting in this was not very bad. My biggest disappointment was the policeman. He irritated me for the entire time he was on stage.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      I am not a big fan of Glen at all. I could never really appreciate him as a comedian. I think he would have better served as the policeman. Of course I didn't see the play but based on past experiences, the police in plays have always seemed to be mindless and quite not intelligent at all. Glen does not in anyway fit the role of a middle class gentle man. Oliver on the other hand is a comic genius who is a chameleon and can be whomever is is playing at the moment.

      Wonderful critique. I understood the play quite well even though I never saw it at all.