House of Lungula: A Sprited Trouser-Comedy

By Monica Obaga,

An overworked assistant manager needs some extra money, fast, for his fiancé’s dowry or the wedding’s off! With the CEO away on holiday, the company house provides his way out. Unfortunately, he is not the only who sees the house as an opportunity! Kenya’s first sex comedy opens with a bang! The tone is immediately set from the first frame, jumping into the hijinks of three employees and their (more or less) romantic exploits. Harrison is trying to make an inordinate sum of money to marry his sweetheart, while his boss is up to no good. Unbeknownst to said boss, his wife finds out and hatches a plan for revenge!

Anyone who enjoys trouser-comedy theatre will recognize the spirited nature of the film. The narrative structure recalls a one-act play, beginning with multiple arcs, which eventually merge into a high stakes, ensemble piece.

Gerald Langiri steals the show as everyman Harrison, underpaid but hopeful about his impending nuptials. Lizz Njagah is elegant as the bored wife of Ian Mbugua’s corporate bigwig and regular sugar daddy. Sarah Hassan as his mistress is lively, with a few tricks up her sleeve. Each one thinks they hold all the cards, but who ever does? The cast is has great chemistry and works well together. Paired up interchangeably, each actor’s performance brings out a new trait in the other, creating a variety of hilarious misunderstandings.

It’s not without fault. There is some over acting, which is justified by the film’s
enthusiastic tone. There was a gender-equal problem of the conversation among women only being about men and vice versa. The scales tipped unfortunately in the
objectification of only the women’s bodies.

This film is a huge step for Kenya, simply because it treats sex as a part of life and not as a harbinger of HIV or teen pregnancy. Its identity as a sex comedy may be slightly left of centre, since the stories occur around sex but the film itself is actually closer to PG13 than NC17 and is really about relationships.

This film is not a PSA, and that’s a definite thumbs up.

Watch House of Lungula on Buni+


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