Philippine Theatre UK and Red Toad production once again had staged a mind provoking show reflecting a serious socio-political issue that highlights the importance of equality and diversity in society. IO is the 27th play written by award-winning playwright Ramon Castillanes Tenoso and the 16th production of PTUK.
The story revolves around the world of Axis Solis and its inhabitants, which is a metaphor for the modern society and the lives of humans. The disparity between the rich and poor, the master and servant relationship, institutional racism, ageism, gender issues, and our deep biases, prejudices, harassment, victimisation and discrimination, cultural background, and sexual orientation are all distinctly portrayed by the play’s different characters.
Once again, Direk Ramon has shown us how brilliant his mind works with the twist of the story, the dialogues, and the spontaneity of connecting the current issues into a fantasy world.
The actors, all unpaid volunteers, have truly shown how passionate they are with sharing their skills and talents in the performing arts. They are all from different backgrounds but have jelled with their camaraderie on and off stage. The cast and crew of IO production are a mixture of many talents. Alex Ermar, who performs IO is a 6th-degree black belter in Doce Pares Eskrima and an 8-time World Champion. Mark Vargas performs as Prince Vasalt is a team lead critical care nurse. Susan Lovejoy who performs Myla as the love interest of IO is a well-known beauty pageant titleholder and is part of BBC’s The Voice UK 2015 series. Giedre Jackyte performs as the evil witch Zemkosa and also the costume manager on this production is a Lithuanian dancer, actress, model, and entrepreneur. Martin Britt, as King Jasper is a sports enthusiast and is Captain of one of the Lingfield cricket teams.
Armin B. Natividad as Queen Orinico has been in PTUK since 2012, and the production coordinator. She already appeared in a few films. Jan Villegas, as King Alder, is one of the gems of PTUK and an entrepreneur. Victoria Gigantes has multiple roles in this production, and she is a passionate and committed member of Stonewall Trans Advisory Group in campaigning towards the “acceptance without exception “ of trans people in the UK and abroad. Lex Aguilar, as Earl Tristan and King Oberan is a co-founder and host of FilmeFilms UK. His partner Rax has been watching all performances and a great help in production and promotion. Jake Monib is a young actor based in North London and impressed us with his performance as Hesetiah and the narrator.
Mark Barton on his 5th production performs as Sir Percival and the captain of the guards. Mark works in retail industry and has a keen interest in music, stage production, and sports. Ghey Adriano, who performs as the Queen, is also the props and backstage manager. She is one of the gems in PTUK and a true friend in every way. Yvette Pasamonte is a dark angel and is a nurse in profession . She believes that everyone’s talents should be shared with others. Enrico Tee has a standing ovation in his fab performance as Tabita – the queer fairy. He is a nurse in profession and is responsible for the graphic designs of PTUK. Alvin Camanzo has been in PTUK for six years and been a gem and true friend to the group. She’s the production manager and responsible for the stage lighting. Maria Elena Patriarca Liwag performs as Tourmaline and is very important in ticketing department. She has been involved in many concert productions and has the main role in international short film, “Diliman.” Robin Britt, Martin Hislopp, and the Hybrid FMA Martial Arts team are in video scenes. Kuya Spike Maurice Newbery is the co-founder of the group and is responsible for the technical areas and Financial department.
Here are some feedback as received from the audience:
Stevenage Councillor Michelle Gardner – Director Ramon Castillanes Tenoso has once again written a deeply touching and close to reality play about diversity. It is worth repeating up and down the UK. The story tells the importance of not judging the people by their looks but their actions and hearts. If you are ever fortunate enough to see the advertised play of Director Ramon Tenoso, I would suggest you jump at the opportunity.
Maribel Pascua Favor – The message of “Equality and Diversity” is well delivered. Everyone in the cast is excellent! I highly recommend the show not to be missed.
Janice Suarez – Great night and amazing performance! Big applause to the cast and crew of IO.
Joel Miranda – An Excellent play about equality and diversity. Great performance from all the cast. Highly recommended!
Jheremy Esperezante- Fantastic original stage play from the one and only active Filipino Theatre group in Europe. The production is getting better every year in every aspect.
Mary Tondo – Very well done to PTUK for yet another superb performance! IO was well executed, touching, beautifully written, ultra-relevant, and it made me laugh, cry, think and fall in love again.
Woo Shaw ( from Surrey ) – the cast are all engaged with making it so incredibly emotional. The message about diversity is so very well told. I laughed and cried in equal measure.
Cherrypie Pascual- What a successful and fantastic play! Stunning costumes! Congratulations to Direk Ramon Tenoso and all the cast and crew of IO production. Superb!
We have a few important guests in every performance: Mayor Danny Favor of East Grinstead, the first Filipino Mayor in the UK, together with his First Lady Maribel Favor; Stevenage Councillors Michelle Gardner and John Gardner; Movie stuntman David Cheung of the famous chocolate advert with Mr Bean; Johnny Edwards of previous television children show; Outstanding leader in Europe, Edwin Dela Cruz; Lahing Kayumanggi artistic director, Ronnie Del Barrio; Tanglaw UK ladies; Mr. Andy and Mrs Nydia Crick; World performing arts awardee, Joel Miranda; Filipino advocate, Malcolm Conlan; the massive fans from UCLH critical care team; and many more.
We are truly grateful for the sponsors and the audience. Our chosen charity this year is the Children with Special Needs in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. Last year, we chose the Prostate Cancer UK.
Your support will go further. The children who will benefit are now overly excited. Maraming Salamat po! Thank you, everyone.