Damilola Adegbite, Beverly Naya, Meg Otanwa, Anee Icha, O.C Ukeje, Gideon Okeke, Karibi Fubara, Patrick Diabuah, Patrick Doyle, Zainab Balogun, Tunbosun Aiyedehin, Vimbai Mutinirhi, Kenneth Okoli
Before 30 is a drama series centered around four women living in Lagos and the pressures they face to be married before they turn 30.Their stories are told through the eyes of the lead character Temi Coker (Damilola Adegbite) and follows the lives of her three friends, the sexy Nkem (Beverly Naya), conservative muslim wife Aisha (Meg Otanwa) and happy go lucky Ama (Anee Icha).The show aims to shed some light on the issues the average single Nigerian woman faces daily in her quest to be married
With Before 30 we explore the bourgeois aspect of Nigerian cinema that we all hate to love. This is because we know exactly what it is about before we even hit play but it is hard to stop yourself from indulging in the woes of the rich and the sophisticated. So what are you waiting for? Pull out your wine glasses and top those glasses off because “Before 30” is the perfect show for it.
In “Before 30” a young lady named Temi, is counting down to her 30th birthday. However, she is not just counting down, she has a goal in mind. She is determined to not hit her ‘expiration date’ before she gets married. It’s not a concept that is foreign to us. In fact it has been beaten to death in many of our recent releases including “Isoken“, so no one is watching this for originality.
Beside her are her three good friends. There is Nkem – who is the fox of the group. When she sees a man that she likes, she does what she needs to to get him. There is nothing stereotypical about her and she is not apologetic about it. Then there is Aisha – the only married one in the group. Aisha is a housewife married to the son of a rich tycoon but he is the love of her life. However, even their relationship is not without its woes. Then we have Ama. Ama is our token Christian girl who tries to get the rest of her friends to ‘come to church with her’, she does things the right way but even then she is not free of the man troubles.
It’s the setup that most of us recognize. It’s Temi for Carrie, Nkem for Samantha, Ama for Miranda and I guess Aisha for Charlotte – it fits like it was the original intention. This Wazobia group, with our token Ghanaian girl though, is not just out here hoping to sell based on its resemblance to the American TV classic – Sex & The City, it actually brings enough fire of its own to keep eyes glued.
Initially you get the sense of what the show is aiming for but it does not quite land immediately. It is not that there is a disconnect at any point from episode 1 that would make anyone want to look away, instead it’s that there are moments where scenes land ‘ok enough’ to send the message, but not ‘greatly enough’ to be worth an applause.
Then there are our actors. Standout would have to be Nkem, played by Beverly Naya. Beverly Naya embodies all your expectations of an African Samantha, in the way that she walks, in the way that she talks and even in the way that she sits. Meg Otanwa as Aisha really made me forget that she was Meg and had me sold that she was truly the wife of a money bag who was constrained by the rules enforced by her money-bag husband. Then there’s Ama played by Anee Icha who doesn’t quite land for me in the beginning. I won’t lie that in some scenes at the start, I wish they’d just gone ahead and went with Lydia Forson but she grows on you and so does the character. Damilola Adegbite as our lead carries the show along effortlessly as well. But a special note must be made for Zainab Balogun who guest stars in this and does a swell job of presenting the emotions of an unloved wife – even though it’s hard to imagine that anyone would ever not love her while she looks like THAT.
Before 30 is a great, fun watch with many comical moments. The show has many audio inconsistencies but also amazing music. It’s a girl’s night out type of show and I recommend you binge watch it all at once – because why not. You might find yourself wondering at many points how this one girl, in under a year, is able to meet all these great quality men, while many can manage to meet half of that in their lifetime – you have to tip your hat to the magic of cinema.
Watch the complete series now HERE
Episode 2 – Okay by Ruby Gyang
Episode 3 – Good Man by Ruby Gyang
Episode 4 – Love Nwantinti cover by unknown
Episode 5 – Destinambari by Mocheddah
Episode 6 – Pass you by by Black Magic
Episode 7 – There’s a Fire by Bez