Wednesday, March 29, 2006

M! The Opera...The Review

The play was. how should I say this…different. There were some good bits and some not so good bits, but I’ll get into that in a while.

Tickets for M! is sold out, so for those who wanted to wait for a review and then decide whether to go see it, you’re too late. They had an extra show yesterday but I heard a lot of the tickets were snapped up by the corporate companies. But never fear, unlike Puteri Gunung Ledang (which I’m still kind of galat for missing it), M! isn’t what you would call A Must See Production.

The storyline goes like this; M! and Sepi are childhood friends. M! mom is a kampong tailor, famous for being able to create designs that..emm, enhances the female form. Whatever. For some reason, M!’s mom gets pregnant (there’s no mention whatsoever of the father though), and dies when giving birth to M!’s brother. The weird thing is M!’s brother is born with a needle in his hand. He’s considered to be a cursed child and is taken away by the village people. The needle is given to M!, who gives it to Sepi for safekeeping.
Fast forward 20 years or so and M! is now a famous designer. He’s the talk of the town and his bigheadedness causes him to forget about Sepi, his muse. Sepi is angry with M! and in her rage, gives away the needle to Kerabat, M!’s rival. However M! and Sepi make up and decide to get married. Kerabat, who I think is in love with Sepi, decides to take revenge by using the needle to create a poisonous dress for Sepi and M!. In the end, only M! wears the clothes given by Kerabat and dies. Turns out Kerabat is M!’s brother. Kerabat regrets his actions and Sepi is left wailing into the night in her wedding gown.

What I Liked About M!
The costumes.
The theme of the show was about fashion, so you would expect the costumes would be extravaganza. And they were. I especially loved Sepi’s wedding gown. It was white, with sparkling diamonds on the bodice and back. Sepi is a beautiful girl to begin with, and in the gown, she just shined. I also loved the costumes that were parade during Kerabat’s fashion show. I think Tom Abang Saufi created those. Divine!!

The singing. Doreen Tang as Sepi was really good. Her soprano voice was just perfect for the role. Kerabat, played by George Chan, was also impeccable. He stole every scene he was in. Unfortunately, the main role M!, played by Khir Rahman, didn’t impress me all that much. His singing was under par, compared to the rest of the cast. I think because his background was more of a rock star (Khir was part of the rock group, Iklim), whenever he sang it felt more like being at a rock concert instead of a theatre. Other impressive singers were Maizurah Hamzah, who played M!’s mom, Azean Irdawaty, who played Cik Tom and Peter Ong, who played Solomon. I also have to play tribute to the child actress, Elyssa Murni Johari, who played Sepi as a child. This girl is only 12 years old but has the confidence of an adult. Word is, she’s cutting an album soon so we’ll be hearing lots more from her.

The overall energy from the cast. You could sense that they were all really into the play and everyone was proud to be part of it. The dancers were great, plus all the background singers were also energetic. 4 months of intensive training and you would think they would have been bored to death of the play.

What I Didn’t Like About M!
The sets. They were too simple and the crew recycled most of them again and again. The props also were very simple and could have been greatly improved. When you think about how many sponsors this production managed to secure, you have to wonder where all that money went to. Disappointing.

The songs. They were horrible. Sorry, there’s just no two ways around it. The songs, how can I explain this, were random, had no rhythm, unmemorable. There were times were I thought the singers just randomly sang their notes, going high or low whenever they wanted to.

Some inappropriate scenes. I went to see the show with my mom and brother, and there were some scenes that made me a little uncomfortable. I guess the director was trying to be too liberal but in an Eastern culture, some scenes could have been toned down. Did M! cup Sepi’s breast when he took the needle from her necklace? Did Kerabat kiss her neck when they sang their duet together? A lot of flesh was flashed about and plenty of cleavage too. I never knew the makcik-makciks at the kampong wore such sexy outfits.

Overall, I think M! was an ambitious project to undertake. I applaud the effort but I also think there were several parts that could have been greatly improved. There were some funny bits (when Sepi said yes to M!’s marriage proposal and when Kerabat called Sepi, si Sunyi Sepi) but the storyline was jerky and the dialogue was too poetic and flowery. It made it even more difficult for people to understand what was going on. The subtitles didn’t help as they only translated what was easy to translate. It would have helped immersive if they had a narrator of some kind to explain the storyline.

In conclusion, when comparing M! to other productions I’ve seen like Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Cats, I’ll have to say Malaysian theatre still has a long way to go before they’re up to par. However my mom enjoyed herself, and to me that's what made it all worth while.


Syikin said...

along..rajinnya awak bawak mak p tgk teater, mak awak mmg peminat teater ya?

bawak anak2 seklai ke p tgk teater tu? depa tak wat bising kat dlm?

Along said...

Syikin: Itulah, baru tau my mom minat theatre. Sekarang ni dah ada aktiviti yg bleh selalu bawak dia. :D.
Ooo, anak2 tak bawak. Takleh pun, Istana Budaya tak bagi kids below 12 inside. Setakat bawak si Dania tu tengok wayang bleh ah. So time along pi theatre, hubby le yg jadik babysitter. :D

Syikin said...

baguihnya asben along. tak pelah kan, bagi suami rasa susah senang jaga anak kecik ni..kerenah depa yg kekadang tu rasa nak tercabut rambut, berasap badan..itu time depa punya angin kus kus datang

Anonymous said...

how did i manage to miss da breast cupping & neck kissing thingy?? damn!! all blame to soraya dean then, busy looking at her & not da play.. eventho i beg to differ on your to much flesh comment, take it off soraya!! oh yeah, and dat maizurah has got a sizzling ass.. bwahahaha..

Along said...

Syikin: We take turns. Hubby pi main futsal, I take care of the kids. I go for my facial or theatre, he takes care of the kids. Aci ah camtu..:D.

Anony: Angah!! U suck!!

Syikin said...

ooo..gitu ke.kiranya ada mou lah ya..:D

eh, menakutkan betullah anony tu punya komen..kalau saya kena camtu, terus saya delete..tak sesuei..sbb kurang ajar.tak de sopan.sori along, ini pandangan saya.