Monetta James exudes charisma, innate acting talent and oodles of potential as a theatrical performer. Her range of expressiveness whether in dance movement (mainly African-centric mimicking the movement of graceful cranes), singing in a clear confident rich alto, or portraying a freedom seeking slave in the American South, a troubled 30s "pop" singer modelled on Billie Holliday, a spunky kid from the Caribbean relocated in Canada filled with big career and life ambitions, a terrified woman in Rwanda during the Hutu/Tutsi genocide to a slick motivational speaker was nothing short of impressive. Sure O.S.I.S.T.A has its problems. For instance, a number of brief blackouts between character changes. Audiences always marvel at character transformations. In this case, O.S.I.S.T.A's blackouts are unnecessary. Another consideration. Characters can best carry whatever message the playwright wishes to deliver nicely embedded within a well-conceived and realized story. Some of James's cast of characters delivered this better than others. Where the others "let down" lay in a nettlesome reliance on sermonizing or "motivational speechifying". The old theatre/movie adage, show don't tell, applies here. That said, O.S.I.S.T.A shines with a multitude of fine moments, intriguing characters and all in all, is well worth catching.The striking Monetta James has all the right stuff to be a theatrical force.
Showtimes: Saturday Sept 8 in the Khyber 3 at 2:15 and 5:15 $10.00