The Ebonies See Christmas Through the London Eye

With an incomprehensible and seemingly uncoordinated title like Gimpe! London Eye, I simply could not wait to finally understand what exactly the play was about.

With the usual set of actors, The Ebonies tackle the social ill of exploitation of the poor by the rich. Arthur Kitakka (Sam Bagenda), a wealthy but shallow-minded man, uses Luwandaga, an extremely intelligent architect to come up with building plans, which he sells to big companies.

However, out of the many millions he makes, he chooses to pay peanuts to Luwandaga, only enough to buy him his usual bottle of alcohol. Luwandaga lives a pauper’s life with his daughter in a filthy, rodent- infested home while Kitakka lives a luxurious life, sleeping with women from all walks of life Chinese, Jamaican wannabes, Bakiga and prostitutes, among others. He, however, claims that it is the women who are after him.

His ‘fianceacutee’ Orphelia is continuously hurt when she finds him with loose women. Liz Ndugga, a generous architect, sets out to find Luwandaga after he was tipped off that he is a great architect. Tension builds up as two rogue men trail her every move. She survives death within an inch multiple times. She manages to find Luwandaga’s home but unknowingly instead takes Kitakka (who pretends to be Luwandaga) with her to the city.

Fusing on-screen and onstage skits worked wonderfully in building the story line. The play heavily relies on unexpected twists, which are capable of making one pull one’s hair out of its roots. If it doesn’t annoy you to discover that Kitakka had actually been in love with Liz after having seen her in Dubai, it definitely will annoy you to discover that Orphelia is actually a twin sister to Kitakka who was simply trying to make sure that her brother settles down with Liz some day.

It is at this point that the London Eye makes sense. Kitakka had promised Orphelia that he would propose to Liz at the London Eye, a recreational area in London. He proposes to Liz who accepts the proposal. Luwandaga, who had eventually met up with Liz, demands his share of all the money that he had worked for, hence, the “gimpe” [give it to me].

While the play’s delivery of moral lessons is commendable, the endless and hard-to-believe plot twists are a strain on one’s mind. It is hard to believe that Orphelia, who has been singing love songs and dancing passionately with Kitakka, could be a sister.

Kitakka is served a plateful of shame when Liz refuses to say ‘I do’ on the day of their wedding, revealing that she had married a workmate two days ago. The Ebonies’ went too far in trying to surprise the audience with this plot line that it became annoying to follow.

Source : The Observer

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