Keeping the ‘Llanito’ Language Alive

Just this October dance scene legends Nathan Conroy and Michael Prescott teamed up to write and star in ‘The Ghost of Ince’s Hall’. Now don’t let the title fool you, it is not meant to be a horror or something to be afraid of. The production, as a whole, was simply phenomenal and one of the many things worth noting about it is that it was all in ‘Llanito’. I kept thinking that throughout the show and one of the show’s stars, Henry Sacramento went on to highlight it at the grand finale. Mr Sacramento went on to also commend them for their hard work by directing, producing and acting.

Unfortunately, the use of everyday ‘Llanito’ is on the decline and it is one that should be embraced heavily and we should consider ourselves incredibly lucky to be bilingual.

The show was packed with clever comedy and one that even the silliest of jokes were enough to make me laugh out loud. Personally, that’s the way I like my comedy and I was in heaven throughout. 

As the show kicks off, Charlie Bishop plays himself but with a difference, he is now the CEO of Gibraltar Cultural Services! In regards to this ghost as the title says, he makes his presence felt very early on. After learning more about the apparent ghost, Charlie takes it upon himself to hire the services of Michael and Nathan, who are paranormal detectives to make it go away; No Fear Mike & Nath are here! 

Upon getting hired, the show is packed with a stellar cast. Jessie Hansen as Karen is perfect casting. She is joined by her PA Brian played by Aaron Caballero. The cameos throughout are great too, especially Richard Garcia, who appears via Facetime from the Garrison Library. He tells us all a nice history lesson on the history of the Ince’s Hall. The flashbacks in that scene are also great but in the hope that the show gets released, I won’t get into them as they are very funny.

One highlight features Mario Prescott playing the role of the priest, as well as, of a mime called François La Baguette. In an earlier scene, he is beaten up mistakenly by a paranoid Nathan.

Each actor brought their roles to life especially Steven Soussi, who also did double duty as both the Janitor, as well as, Madame Marouskha. The scene where they walk to Madame’s abode is very good and Soussi really made this role his own. When he is asked about his fee and he goes on to say that he would take payment via Revolut showed me how amazing it is that these days we can pay for something with just a few taps. All very whimsical, especially the special cameo by Henry Sacramento playing a ghostly belly dancer.

The exorcism scene is rather amusing, especially Karen’s lines. The state of panic that Mike and Nath have throughout it is superb. Jessie Hansen was very droll too and did her job well.

As the show reaches the end, we finally get to see the variety show that Mike & Nath refer to and it kicks off with Yalta Dance Studio. The variety show was hosted by Miss Karen’s PA Brian, who gave a small audition to Nath by showing off his presenting skills and excels.

One of the key performances, as well as hilarious, was that of Nathan playing a flamenco singer ‘El Gitano de La Caleta’. The portrayal features brilliant mannerisms to make it all the more believable. He is joined on stage by Victor Calderon on cajón and Mark Anthony Celecia.

One special performance who gave it all (No surprise there) por qué el tío es un crack, was Nathan Payas. Brian takes it upon himself to recruit Plácido Lunes and Jose Carreteras. Nathan’s initially hesitant especially as they hadn’t rehearsed together prior to the show but he said he would give it a shot. It is followed by Nathan halfway through to dismiss them and perform solo, which he did to a standing ovation.

Eventually with the resorting to the services of the Gibraltar Band and Drums Association, the ghost played by John Mascarenhas appears alongside them and they end up marching out of the Ince’s Hall and with that the ghost is gone.

All in all the production was superb. It really did live up and we shouldn’t be surprised, especially given the talent that Michael Prescott and Nathan Conroy possess. I think I speak for the rest of those in attendance that a Part II has to be written and let that happen sooner rather than later.

 Text & Photographs By David J. Diaz


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