In short, Too Early for Birds was above and beyond what I expected.
I have seen Abu Sense and Ngartia J Bryan, the two main actors, perform before, but I didn’t think they would come together in such cataclysmic glory for this particular performance.
Based on Owaahh’s popular blog, Too Late For Worms, which you know from stories like ‘The Sack of Imperial Bank’ and gory tales on Africa’s best serial killers, this show took some of the best of what Owaahh’s blog has to offer in terms of Kenyan lore and brought it to life on the KNT stage last weekend for an enthralled and captivating audience, with the likes of Laura Wanjiru Ekumbo, Brian Njagi, Anne Moraa, Miriam Kadzitu, William Mwangi, Eddie Kagure, and Tony Muchui by their side, under Yvonne Mwawuganga’s direction. As Abu said during their standing ovation, it’s all well and good to watch Superman and revere Batman, look forward to a Wonder Woman movie etc. but Kenya has her own heroes, and they existed, and stood up for Kenya, before colonialism confounded our whole history. We, too, have our own legends of yore – Harry Thuku, who inspired thousands and was a champion for women; Otenyo Nyamaterere, who became an outlaw for trying to resist British rule – and of course, the famed urban legends of exactly what Paul Ngei did and did not do (did – definitely took a Mercedes from DT Dobie for a test drive that lasted 20 years).
The point of this show was too give us the facts behind our histories – and not alternative ones. What happened before we were colonised, what we did, what we were like – something that they really do not teach enough in school. The importance of knowing your own culture, and your own stories was brought to the fore with this amazing show – both funny and reflective, moving to the point of tears and in the next instance making you scream with laughter at the puns (of course there were puns, Ngartia).
There are two more shows this year – one in June, and the other in September, which, and do not take this with any salt whatsoever, you really cannot afford to miss.