The First Chapter of “The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi” Serves Nostalgia With Tale As Old As Time
It is incredible to live through a moment in history but even more incredible to watch a myth take shape. Introducing a two-part Netflix series, Producer Jay Franklyn has pulled the dust off this myth about the woman in “Koi-Koi” shoes and served us the story on a platter of nostalgia.
“Chapter 1: The Awakening” follows the life of Amanda (Martha Ehinome), a Senior Secondary School 3 student. It is the year 1991 and she has moved to a new school in “Malomo” town to take her final exams. She feels uneasy about her mother’s decision to transfer her to this school, and she makes it clear to her mom throughout the drive to school. Her mother, however, assures her that all will be well, and that this decision is for the best.
From the moment “Madam Koi-Koi” begins, we feel a sense of impending doom. Immediately, our brains try to identify which one of the female characters could be the ghoul. Miss Adesola, a messenger from the State Board of Education who walks in with a funny wig, is our first suspect on this list. We do not like Mother Superior; that is, the Principal (Ireti Doyle) from the jump. Edna (Nene Nwanyo) is also a suspect.
The performances in “Madam Koi-Koi” are laudable. It is also commendable that we get to see new faces of Nollywood and we are not disappointed even the slightest bit. The young cast brilliantly portrays secondary school life and all of the gimmicks that come with it.
Martha Ehinome, who plays the uneasy Amanda, bodies this role. Her eyebrows, which are constantly raised, convey a palpable concern. She is weirdly connected to Madam Koi-Koi’s mission, and she personifies everyone who wakes up from a dream that is hopefully too bad to be true.
Nene Nwanyo is another great actor. She plays the role of Edna who dallies about like a flower in a garden, ever cheerful and chatty until she becomes terrified. Her delivery takes us back to that secondary schoolmate we all knew: the one who would introduce themselves to you and give you an audio handbook and yearbook of the school. They are friends with all except the “bad guys.” You are taken back to secondary school days as you watch her chatter away.
Ireti Doyle gives a wonderful portrayal of Mother Superior. She is stern, cool, and calculated. She not only perverts justice by victim blaming but she will ruin the lives of the students under her care to make sure she keeps her position. With the Rosary around her neck, Doyle delivers a beautiful portrayal of this not-so-godly character.
Chukwuka Joseph plays Lashe. It is true that Mother Superior is an annoying character but Joseph’s role as Lashe makes you want to bring him out of the screen and lash him till he evaporates. He is a bully, an aspiring class clown, a rapist, and a liar. Joseph made sure that his character Lashe smirked, fumed, sneered, and barked throughout this first part of the film. His facial expressions while spewing rubbish that would make you clench your fists, fuels the hate for this character even more. We hate Lashe because Joseph did his homework.
Other cast members like Baaj Adebule (Detective Oscar), Jude Chukwuka (Baba Fawole), Deyemi Okanlawon (Theophilus), Ejiro Onojaife (Ibukun), and Chioma Akpotha (Sister Silence) also deliver stellar performances that make you believe.
The cinematography is commendable. The lights which put the viewers in different moods make the film even more thrilling. The transition from one scene to the other is done smoothly and it helps the viewers to stay on track as they seamlessly move from scene to scene. Especially beautiful is the portal shown at the end of Chapter 1. It looks like Madam Koi-Koi goes into it, but we do not know the reason behind this, and we hope to find out in Chapter 2.
The best part of the film is Madam Koi-Koi’s hit list. Unlike the popular tales that portray her as this killer who goes after random people, drawing their blood for fun, the film shows her to be a ghoul on a mission to visit vengeance on behalf of those who are weak. From the two killings that occurred in Chapter 1, we see that even though Madam Koi-Koi does not know where the other leg of her shoe is, she knows what is right and what is wrong. We limp with Madam Koi-Koi…at least for now.
As we watch the origin of this myth come to life, we wonder who is next on Hades’ horse, what Madam Superior will do when her school finally falls apart, and what Amanda will do when she confirms that she was right all along.
“The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi” is now showing on Netflix.
Release Date: November 3, 2023
Runtime: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Director: Jay Franklyn Jituboh
Streaming Service: Netflix
Cast: Jude Chukwuka, Ireti Doyle, Chioma Akpotha, Ehinome, Nene Nwanyo, Omowumi Dada, Chuks Joseph, Iremide Adeoye, Ejiro Onojaife, Deyemi Okanlawon, Baaj Adebule, Tolulope Odebunmi, and Kevin T Solomon