We got the cast of “Men in Heels” to design their dream heels. They were toe-riffic!

Look to the heel, young man. The sex is in the heel!” – Lola, Kinky Boots

There’s something irresistible about a pair of sexy stilettos, isn’t there? Their shape. Their texture. Their allure. Ooh la la. When danger is a-foot, what better to wear?

And who would know better about these fetishistic forms of female footwear than the cast of Men In Heels, the latest show at the Kuala Performing Performing Centre?

Directed by Joe Hasham, the show tells the tale of best friends Peter (Mark Beau de Silva), Ilya (Zhafir Muzani) and Bryan (Ivan Chan) who work hard to make it big in the city of KL, chasing their dreams to perform on the big stage. All the while looking fabulous in heels, too.

The cast (L-R): Zhafir Muzani, Ivan Chan, Mark Beau de Silva

But surely being in heels throughout the rehearsals must have given them some idea of what they would consider a perfect pair of stilettos for any lady (or gentleman) going for a night out on the town, right?

So we asked the three cast members of Men in Heels to design their ideal pair of high heels. No expense was too high…the three were free to create whatever they liked, and write the sales pitch!

And what can we say, the performers certainly bore their hearts and soles to create some amazing designs! These guys are definitely a shoe-in to be the next big things. Eat your heart out, Jimmy Choo!

KILLKEEL, aka THE YELLOW HEEL!™  by ivan chan 

Inspired by James Bond and The Bride from Kill Bill. Fun, dangerous and fabulous, how can you not like it?

So, let me tell you the truth about these heels, yellow will always be Fun. Firstly it’s soooo pop art, secondly you’ll be seen from miles away, so even if you are having a bad hair day or you’re not feeling the dress you’re wearing, you’ll always look fun and fashionable in your yellow heels.

As you all know, Safety is priority for spies like James Bond, you better be prepared when your safety is compromised. Kick your heel back and a pen knife will reveal itself! The perfect weapon for self-defense, use it wisely. 

And girls, we all know B.O is a no no, so when u can smell the funk, turn the petals clockwise to unleash Chanel number 5 . And lastly, the most imported state of the art feature of the yellow heel is, drum roll please, THE ROCKET LAUNCHER! This would catapult you and your wig  to fame, fabulosity and beyond. I mean Manolo who?  I swear if James Bond could wear heels, he would want a pair.

UNICORN GREY VELVET!™ – by mark beau de silva

Custom made Unicorn Grey Velvet is made with (ethically) harvested dead mares’ hooves! They form the perfect heel for magical strolls under the rainbow!
Comes adorned with a horn made of real quartz crystal to give the wearer luck and glamour!

 

 

 

 SUPERWOMEN HEELS!™ – by zhafir muzani


Always late to fetch your kids from school? 
Always late to reach your office ? 
Rushing to send your documents to the next building? 
Cannot run fast enough to catch dinner with your loved one? 
Well, worry no more! Superwomen heels obviously make your life easier!

Made from soft wire imported from Korea, it is suitable for your feet so your heels will follow your feet movement.

Its flexible ! The cutie wings will help you to fly 158 cm higher so you can go to your destination faster. Afraid to fly? You can choose the wheels mode. Just tap your heels 2 times, and the wheels will appear. If you want to keep it, tap 2 times again.

Worried that your makeup will be ruined after flying with cutie wings? Superwomen heels comes with a lipstick. You can choose 2 colours, light and dark. Just take off the back of the heels and you can use your lipstick!

Showtimes:

Men in Heels will be showing at Pentas 2, the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre on the following dates

24th Feb, 1st – 3rd Mar, 8th – 10th Mar 2018 @ 8.30pm
25th Feb, 4th Mar & 11 Mar 2018 @3pm

You can buy tickets online or by calling the Klpac Box Office at +603-4047 9000. Tickets are RM100 (Patron of The Arts VIP Seating – Minimum RM100, Limited – Only 30 Seats), RM55 (Regular Seating) and RM45 (Concession).

5 Theatre couples share what it’s like to be in a relationship ON and OFF the stage

Ah, love! Feelings of passion and passions of feeling. Often, a very dramatic thing to experience. And even more when it’s born from drama. Theatre drama, we mean.

At first thought, the theatre may sound like a WONDERFUL place for love. You spend lots of time in rehearsal with your partner, ‘building chemistry’ and hopefully acting a love scene or two.

Then again, the theatre may also be a TERRIBLE place for love. How can you tell real emotion in a place where everything is make believe? And who has energy for getting jiggy after countless hours of physical warm-ups and strenuous rehearsals?

So what’s love in the theatre really like? We decided to ask five theatre couples their experiences of performing arts romance.

Hana and Arief.

HANA NADIRA and ARIEF HAMIZAN

In a relationship for a year and a half

HANA ( actress in Tragedi Hamlet, Riwayat, The Swordfish and the Concubine): It’s surprisingly great! Haha. Surprising because, after my first break up, I vowed to never date anyone involved in the performing arts again. I thought the lesson was not to poop where you eat because the repercussions of it is awkward.

But of course, I ended up with an actor again, and it has turned out to be rewarding in every way. Not only does he understand what I’m talking about when ranting about work, there are also a lot of ideas exchanged between us, and immense support, mentally and emotionally, for each other’s work. Fully understanding the commitment and energy required makes it worth it in the end.

ARIEF (actor in The Pillowman, Tragedi Hamlet, The Swordfish and the Concubine): I can’t imagine anything better. Her thoughts inspire me, her work inspires me, her devotion to her craft inspires me. Working in the arts often means struggling with finances, creative frustration, and those awkward schedules where you’re only free after 11pm on Mondays and before 10am on weekends or something. But she understands it all.

To know that there’s someone with me on this strange, uncertain journey in the arts, and loves it as much as I do, is to remember why I’m even here in the first place.

Safia and Ivan in ‘You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown’.

SAFIA HANIFAH and IVAN CHAN ATIENZA

Married about two months

SAFIA (actress in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Marble Hearts, Mak Yong Titis Sakti):  We understand each other’s work and we don’t question the odd rehearsal timings.  There would also be times when we are needed in the theatre from morning to midnight (in the case of bump in and tech rehearsals). Having a partner in the same industry means he would be understanding towards this. It is also fun to be able to creatively share ideas and being on the same page when discussing work at home. I look forward to collaborate with him one day.

Challenges are when we have to travel for work, which means we have to be apart. This is hard especially in our case, we’ve only been married a month plus now.

IVAN (actor in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, The Pillowman, Tick Tick Boom): We would understand each other’s schedule. Safia and I are actors, and if I have problems expanding my creativity, I can have a conversation with my wife who is an excellent actor to help me develop ideas and ways to create a character. Furthermore, she’s an actor….she entertains me and I entertain her when we’re at home.

Challenges? I’m married to an actor. She is drama.

(l-r) Too and Chen.

ANRIE TOO AND MICHAEL CHEN

Married about four years

ANRIE (actress in Titus Andronicus, Rashomon, L5-7-44): It’s absolutely wonderful. To have someone who understands why you need to sacrifice personal dating time, spending it on rehearsals after an already long day at work. Also, having a partner who shares the same passion also means, we can work on our craft together to do better, encourage each other in ways to where only someone involved in the industry can understand – plus it’s nice to have a line-read partner at home!

The only challenge that comes to mind is that you have to be okay watching your partner kiss another person on stage – understand that it’s all part of the job and well, also because you expect the very same understanding from them as well.

Click on the image to check out Men in Heels, opening Feb 24th at klpac!

MICHAEL (actor in Tombiruo, Rashomon, Angels in America): It’s amazing to have a partner who is also in the performing arts! I cannot imagine any downside at all. My wife and I met at a dance workshop virtually 10 years ago. By then, both of us already had some experience performing individually, we watch new shows together and we still connect on those levels.

One of the common challenges with a ‘non-performing arts partner’ is the lack of time spent together during rehearsals for a show, which could take up several nights a week for a 3 month period. This would normally put a strain on a relationship. However, in our case, we understand that this happens and sometimes we get lucky to be performing in the same show.

https://newyorktheater.me/2016/11/12/falsettos-review-andrew-rannells-christian-borle-as-a-gay-couple/
Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells from the play ‘Falsettos’. Photo used for illustration purposes. Source: New York Theatre

JC* and KD*   (Names have been changed to protect privacy)

In a relationship for over 10 years

JC: Two heads. Two-pairs of eyes. Sometimes thinking about the same issues. Sometimes seeing a scene the same way: “This character can move the boxes and trap the others in the middle.” Sometimes not. Nothing surprising.

But on the days of ‘differences that matter to me’, I wish he’d disappear deep into the woodwork, choke on the sawdust and be silent. On some of these days, ‘the self’ I don’t want to be rears up, and my uncontrollable tongue takes over. Theatre folks who know us well, laugh at what I say. Then on the drive home from rehearsal, thick silence.

Eventually we debrief and then move on. I respect the amount of time he puts into studying, researching and thinking about a work before we pull in the actors. He even memorizes all the lines. So I concede.

Because outside of theatre we are quite similar. Neither of us is extravagant in our lifestyle. He likes to sit at the dinner table. I have ants in my pants. We are silly with each other. We laugh at each other’s stupid antics. Our shared values and interests, I feel, help cement our goal to make our productions successful–artistically and financially.

KD:  It means talking, arguing about and doing theatre 90% of our time together, whenever we are not in theatre. It means dinner conversations are all mostly on scenes we have rehearsed, shows we have watched, or the latest theatre gossip. It means going to sleep discussing what we can do for the next play, or greeting each other in the morning with funding ideas.

Sometimes because I know him so well, I have a much higher expectation of him. I am harsher, more critical and less patient. I have to remind myself not to rush to the results.

Looking at some theatre companies that have been around and active for a long time, I see that many are led by a couple. I think as a couple you strive harder to work out the differences, to push and support, to work as a team. True, there are days we want to kill each other. But there are more days when we realize: what a blessing it is to have someone to share your passion!

Joe and Faridah, probably checking out some cute cat video.

DATO’ FARIDAH MERICAN and JOE HASHAM

Married about 28 years

FARIDAH (actress in Sisa-Sisa, director of Uda & Dara, and Thunderstorm): Time together has flown by so fast we have not had a chance to be too unhappy with each other. Of course there are moments, maybe more of those moments when I was younger, at the beginning of our partnership when emotions were more difficult to control. But lets talk about these later years as they are much happier ones. The best is when our friends say you both are so always together. They are right. I would not want it any other way.

What do I wish for more though? That the handphone does not come out when we are enjoying a meal. Aghhh!

I know I value the few moments we can have together away from work, but it’s thrilling to be by Joe’s side when he is directing. I am a number one fan. I think he knows it too. Love you Joe.

JOE (actor in Sisa-Sisa, director of ‘The Betrayal‘ and  ‘Men in Heels‘):  Sometimes I want to scream. Having Faridah involved in the performing arts with me is glorious, most of the time, but can also be the most frustrating experience I am forced to endure.

On the upside: Faridah is my muse. She protects and guides me in so many ways. BUT, on the downside … she also infuriates me … to the point of distraction! Possibly because most of the time she is ‘right’.

Because we work together, at the same place, we are seldom apart. Some people might find that disturbing; I find it comforting.  There are many times where we would disagree … but that only helps to add spice and sparkle to our creative relationship.

 

[All submissions have been edited for clarity and length.]

The Bee is the worst Malaysian theatre show right now. Here’s why.

The Bee by Hideki Noda and Colin Teevan is the latest offering from Theatresauce, a local theatre company that thinks long titles make better shows. For the sake of my time and keyboard, I’ll be referring to the show as The Bee for the rest of this review.

I caught their opening night on Feb 1, where the cast performed to a full house of audience members who were unfortunate enough to have bought tickets without first reading a review.

To make it easier for you to see how bad this show is, I’ll be rating it on the following criteria:

  • Initial expectations from information available on the poster
  • The experience from actually watching the show
  • Any additional self-indulgent thoughts and observations

While I would rather spend the 70-minute or so runtime watching paint dry, my co-writer enjoyed the show a lot more than I did. You can read his review here

The poster

Despite the text covering every available space on the poster, I managed to spot a line at the top which says The Bee is based off a short story written in the 1970’s. This usually indicates one thing – outdated references and/or cringeworthy attempts at making it more modern.

An actual bee is also included, just so no one questions why it’s called The Bee.

Despite the huge amounts of text, the poster doesn’t actually contain the only piece of information I would have found useful – What language the show is in.

The show

I should warn you that this section contains spoilers, not that there’s too much to spoil.

As you walk in, you’ll be met with the main character (Ido) in a slow-motion walk against a backdrop made out of connected hexagons which (I’m guessing) is meant to represent a honeycomb. Just in case you forgot the show is called The Bee.

Storywise, a stereotypical Japanese office worker discovers that his wife and son have been held hostage by an escaped convict, so he takes the convicts wife and son hostage in retaliation; leading to a Mexican standoff.

The cast includes a bumbling detective, intrusive paparazzi, and dysfunctional family members – all the elements you need for a plot that’s dark, comedic, and quirky in the same way a 15-year old  would consider Linkin Park to be edgy and hardcore.

Throw in a couple of plot twists and you’ll spend the second half of the show wondering:

How far the Salaryman go to get his family back?

Will his actions affect what the convict does to his own family?

At what point will the audience figure out how the story ends and start counting the hexagons on the stage?

I counted 53.

General thoughts and observations

Usually, a sign that a show is trying too hard to be artistic is when you start seeing unnecessary dance sequences, or actors repeating certain lines or movements. But The Bee is better than that.

It incorporates BOTH dance and repetition, both equally unnecessary.

This ties in with the other issue about the play, which is that it’s really, really, REALLY outdated. While I can understand how it’s a satirical view on social issues, these issues were probably more meaningful to Japanese society back in the 70’s. With today’s Facebooking audience, watching The Bee for social commentary is like listening to someone make Miley Cyrus references in 2018.

Don’t get me wrong – every show has some central theme that’ll leave some form of impact on you, and The Bee’s plot twist will come in like a wrecking ball, shocking you into asking philosophical questions like “What makes Man evil” or “Are we a product of our society”. Unfortunately, the need to be “artistic” and “quirky” results in repeating the shock value to the point that the only question you’ll be asking is “I wonder how many hexagons are there on the stage?”

The hexagon joke, coupled with the use of words like “artistic” and “quirky” leads to the biggest problem with this review – Repetition.

If there’s one positive thing I can say about The Bee, it’ll be the performance, especially the casts’ ability to mime certain props like boom mics and news cameras with clear, sharp movements. Picturing them holding random objects provided me with the only entertainment for the night.

Best moment of the show

The scene where all the actors appeared on stage in formation and bent forward.

Oh wait, that was the end of the show.

How to get tickets

You can buy tickets online or by calling the Klpac Box Office at +603-4047 9000. Tickets are RM58 (Regular) or RM48 (Concession) with a Buy 3-Free-1 offer. You can catch the show at the following times:

WEEK 1: Thu, Feb 1 – Sat, Feb 3 @ 8.30 pm; Sun, Feb 4 @ 3.00 pm
WEEK 2: Wed, Feb 7 – Sat, Feb 10 @ 8.30 pm; Sun, Feb 11 @ 3.00 pm

….but why would you?

Overall rating:

This rating was brought to you by the letter B, for Boycott.

Here’s why The Bee is a must-watch piece of Malaysian theatre

The Bee by Hideki Noda and Colin Teevan is a show by Theatresauce that opened on Feb 1 at klpac and runs till Sunday, Feb 11.

Bee-fore we head any further into the show itself, I should mention that I manage social media campaigns for Theatresauce. However, I was not involved in the creative process and watched it for the first time on their Feb 1 opening night.

As I’m experiencing the show with (arguably) fresh eyes, I’ll be rating it on the following criteria:

  • Initial expectations from information available on the poster
  • The experience from actually watching the show
  • Any additional thoughts and observations

While I thought this show had more highs than lows, my co-writer wasn’t a fan. You can read his review here

The poster

The Bee sort of takes a different route from most theatre posters by not depicting the actual cast members. Instead, it uses a manga-esque drawing to hint at a dark turn in the story.

It would also be safe to assume that the show is inspired by manga and anime, or at least contain some references to them.

The show

This section contains possible spoilers

The Bee sets the mood for audiences arriving early by having the main character (Ido) doing a slow motion walk-on-the-spot against a backdrop that resembles a honeycomb – slightly offbeat, but oddly relaxing to look at.

This atmosphere is broken the moment the play starts, with Ido being informed that his family has been held hostage by an escaped convict. Through a series of events involving a bumbling detective, Ido ends up holding the escaped convict’s family hostage.

What ensues is a standoff between Ido and the escaped convict, as they each resort to increasingly extreme methods to convince the other to give in and release their respective family members. No holds are barred here – whatever horror that you’re imagining will be inflicted on the family members as you read this, you’ll probably see it in the show.

A powerless police force and an over-eager pair of news reporters looking for the next big scoop in the crisis makes things worse, though not for the audience as they provide most of the comedic moments that lighten what would otherwise be a dark play.

General thoughts and observations

If I can sum The Bee up in one word, it would be Imagination.

While it isn’t completely abstract or artsy-fartsy as some people might call it, The Bee stretches the imagination by using repetition and various artistic methods to depict some of the more morbid or harrowing scenes. There are also some random “break-reality” moments where the characters start dancing, but I think none of this would be too hard to digest if you’ve been exposed to manga, anime, or just very weird Japanese movies.

The audience also mainly sees what happens from Ido’s perspective, so what actually happens to Ido’s family members are left up to the imagination. Considering that Ido and the escaped convict are essentially opposite mirror images of one another – to the point that their sons share the same age and birthday – perhaps it’s what you don’t see that’s more disturbing.

Unfortunately, the journey ends with a bumpy landing. Despite the cast being more than able to carry the show with their performance, The Bee’s story pacing isn’t the best, and I expect the last 10 minutes to be a like-it-or-hate-it moment for many audience members.

Best moment of the show

When Ido and his hostages are “watching” a variety show on TV, and a cast member sings a Japanese rendition of My Way.

The performance, lighting, and the cabaret-style atmosphere is something that I wouldn’t mind watching as a full performance.

How to get tickets

You can buy tickets online or by calling the Klpac Box Office at +603-4047 9000. Tickets are RM58 (Regular) or RM48 (Concession) with a Buy 3-Free-1 offer. You can catch the show at the following times:

WEEK 1: Thu, Feb 1 – Sat, Feb 3 @ 8.30 pm; Sun, Feb 4 @ 3.00 pm
WEEK 2: Wed, Feb 7 – Sat, Feb 10 @ 8.30 pm; Sun, Feb 11 @ 3.00 pm

Overall rating:

7.5/10