5 Short+Sweet musicals that will get your feet tapping in 10 minutes (or less)

The annual Short and Sweet Festival (or S+S in short) hosted by KPAC is recognized as one of the most looked-forward to stage competitions due to it’s unique spin of capping entries to a maximum of 10 minutes, along with it’s open door policy that opens participation to anyone regardless of performing experience.

For the audience, this means that good shows will be “just right”, and not-so-good shows will be over faster than a bad Tinder date. Everybody wins!

But you’re not here to read a press release.

You’re here to either re-experience some good memories, see what S+S is all about, or to see if your entry is included in the article.

We selected the following entries based on a stringent criteria which involves:

  • Awards won
  • Asking several performers which pieces they found memorable
  • Availability on YouTube ← probably the most important criteria.

So with that out of the way, let’s head to the first entry on the list…

The Geong Xi is a Vamp (2012)

Quick Synopsis: Chinese family send son oversea to study. Son come back westernized. Asian father is disappoint. Cataclysmic event happen. Basically a TVB drama, except with vampires. Funny. Won 7 out of 13 available awards.

Dreaming Outside the Box (2013)

Quick Synopsis: Jack-in-a-box is in love with Jill-in-a-box. Jill wants Jack to cash her ousside. But they’re both stuck in boxes. How bow dah? Won 8 out of 14 available awards.

300 million (Reconceptualisation of a conception) ( 2014)

Quick Synopsis: A bunch of sperm want to ovulate ovaries. Short and sweet but satisfying…….said no one ever. Except in regards to this piece. Won 3 out of 14 available awards.

Walk with Me (2015)

Quick synopsis: Girl’s relationship with pet doggo from child till adult. Pet doggo’s relationship with girl for his entire life. Listen to music because cannot see performance past tears. Won 3 out of 14 available awards.

Disorder in the Court  (2012)

Quick Synopsis: Trial of the century. Datuk accused of murder faces pun-ishment. Musical actors singing in their law suits giving arresting performances. Too many puns? You be the judge. Courted 5 out of 13 available awards.

These videos are terrible!

Agreed. Videos can never perfectly capture the magic of the stage – even with with dual camera phones (we tried).

If you’d like to witness the magic of Short and Sweet for yourself, you’re in luck! S+S musical is happening NOW at the following times.

S+S Musical (8.30pm)
26 Sep – 29 Sep 2018
[GALA NIGHT] 30 Sep 2018 

Dance and Theatre categories are happening in October. More information on ticketing and showtimes here.

 

We forced a theatre newbie to watch Malay Macbeth. Here’s her review

HI! I’m Ka Vei, currently 23 years old, and just started my postgraduate masters a few months back. Unlike my studies, I know next to nothing about theatre. I have only ever been to two plays, first one was Lo Mio and Chu Liet a few years ago, and ‘The Bee’ a few months back. 

I made sure both shows were in English because I’m a banana and cant pick up Chinese well, but I also stammer a lot trying to speak in Malay. One time I went to the bank to pick up my SISWA card, and I told the clerk ‘saya nak kutip card’, and the guy just stared at me, trying not to laugh. He later told his colleague and they both had a good laugh anyway.

I’m not telling you this to highlight my banana-ness, but because I got asked to review a play called Dato Seri. I was a little worried about not understanding it because :

  1. Dato Seri is a Malay adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, performed in Malay – I know absolutely nothing about Macbeth aside from the fact that it was a famous Shakespeare play.
  2. The editor didn’t allow me to research it beforehand (sadist), so I spent the past week wondering if Macbeth was a guy or a girl.
  3. My friend had watched Dato’ Seri a day before me and told me to expect Bahasa Istana*gulp*

But after watching it, I frankly quite enjoyed myself. So here’s my review:

The Poster and the Title

The poster was straightforward – a male and a female character whom I assume are the main characters in the play (Dato’ and Datin Seri?). The red keris in the middle reaffirmed the traditional malay setting of the show.

The Show Itself

The play follows a war hero named Dato’ DiKajang, who encounters three witches with a prophecy that he will one day be King of the land, Pertiwi.

When he returns home, he’s promoted to the title of ‘Dato’ Seri’ by the King, who decrees that the crown prince would be the next Prime Minister. The greed for power soon consumes DiKajang and his wife, and they both plot to kill the King and frame the guards.

Once he becomes king, it all goes downhill…. He becomes a tyrant, suspicious of betrayal by his subordinates, pillaging and burning villages, killing families, and all that tyrant-y stuff.

At the same time, his wife grows demented; suffering agonizing guilt over killing the king. In the end… well, no spoilers from me but let’s just say that many people following the country’s political developments may see some parallels. 

Highlight(s) of the Show

For me, the highlight of the show was definitely watching the three witches (I think they were called the Fates) play their role in the story.

I felt that the actors who played the witches did an amazing job. I was creeped out but still enjoyed the way they spoke and cackled. They really seemed like something out of this world. They actually reminded me a lot of the Fates in Disney’s Hercules; you know those three witches in black cloaks who share one singular eye… yea that one.

Also, this play might give you high school nostalgia. Because nearing the end of the play, DiKajang recites Shakespeare’s Life Brief Candle: ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow…’ but in BM. In my head, I was like ‘oooohhhh, so that’s where the poem came from…’

General Thoughts and Observations

The storyline was not difficult to follow, it really grabs your attention with good actors who really know how to set the mood. I was mostly thankful for the English subtitles that were provided on a small screen above the set (but sit on the right side of the audience seats if you plan to rely heavily on the subtitles like me).

For an intense play about murder and power grabbing, Dato’ Seri also sneaks in some humour although there were times where the audiences would be laughing at something someone says, and I would sit there wondering what they were laughing about. What I’m trying to say is that the play is definitely worth watching, but you would definitely enjoy it much more if you could keep up with the Malay instead of relying on the English subtitles.

Overall Rating

I’d give this play a 9 out of 10. I really really liked the play, and I would recommend anyone to go for it when they have a chance.

How to get tickets

Unfortunately, tickets for Dato’ Seri running from 10th May to 13th May 2018 were sold out. And by the time you read this, the play would have ended it’s way-too-short run.

But don’t fret! You can check KLPAC’s website for other shows. Alternatively, call the Klpac Box Office at +603-4047 9000 to ask what else is currently showing.

 

 

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).

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