Tuesday, May 18, 2010

West Side Story

In a gist, for the benefit of lengthy-posts-haters, I loved the set design, the costumes, the choreography; really liked the music and arrangements; not crazy about the dialogs and the singing. For the otherwise, read on:

The day started with some (unwelcome) drama... oh wait, this post is about the musical! Pardon me. The evening started with dinner at a premium-pork-butcher's-plus-restaurant, Sanbanto, at SS2. Many a time I had said that I am, unfortunately, not a food blogger, so I'll just leave you with some photos of what we had, with minimal food-related descriptions:

Salad with deep-fried pork belly. Sno said this was so sinful. The Man of the Evening asked why. She replied that we'd be eating deep-fried pork belly! He contemplated that seriously for a moment, then said he still didn't know what was wrong with that. Sigh, I want to be a man too! However, once we'd sunk our teeth into those crispy, juicy, extremely flavourful pork belly bits... well, eat first and... well, just eat.

Pork liver pate. I like pork liver! I like 'em in my porridge, pork noodles, stir-fried with ginger and spring onion, etc. - but pureed liver is simply too outlandish for me. They say it tasted a little like foie gras; though, not that I would know, for I've never tasted it, and will never want to have it, anyway.

This is the weekend special! I can't remember what exactly the name was... (real food bloggers, if they chanced upon this, might roll their eyes so hard the eyeballs risk being turned inwards permanently)

In short, dinner was grand.

Then, we headed towards Istana Budaya.

The crowd was amazingly huge - given the not-exactly-affordable ticket prices - but not too unpleasant, if there ever could be "pleasant" crowds. The musical-lovers were mostly demure, soft-spoken, gracious and very well-dressed. Sno and I did, at first, wonder if we might be overdressed, in dresses and shawls. In that crowd, however, we fitted right in, perhap a little underdressed, compared to the more dolled-up.

The show was scheduled to begin at 8.30pm, and seating began a little after 8pm. From the main entrance, we had to take an elevator up two floors to our entrance (that's for buying cheap tickets). The moment we walked into the theatre, the altophobic in me surfaced. It wasn't just me, though, for both of my musical-mates halted in shock too. We were so high up, my legs turned wobbly looking down at the stage. Having to maintain balance in high heels while taking the next few steps to our seats didn't exactly alleviate the trembling. Once we found our seats, we realised that the cheap tickets didn't just get us to a great height, but also a skewed view of the stage, with a corner totally blocked.

Fortunately, the stage was still near enough that even without my specs, I could see the cast members' faces, expressions and cleavages sufficiently well. I guess I have no complaints of my view, for the price I paid.

When the show began, the first thing I noted was how very vibrant the dancing was. I truly enjoyed the choreography, even though some might think the dance-fighting moves funny and/or lame. I found them clever enough, for it was a stage, afterall, not the dojo or something. The music was lush enough and very engaging. Then, one of the Jets started singing...

It wasn't that the singing was bad - but when he started singing, I actually thought he hadn't yet caught back his breath from the demanding dance routine he did just minutes before. No, it wasn't that the singing was bad, just that I expected it to be better. I thought perhaps the two leads - Tony and Maria - would stand out, but they didn't either. Some songs were great, others left me wanting better. Plus, the fact that I thought Maria's accent was overdone didn't make the songs sound better. The Man of the Evening thought her accent sounded Indian. I simply thought it sounded odd.

I also couldn't understand half the dialogs - as in, I couldn't get what they were saying at all. The words simply tumbled out at me in torrents of jumbled-up syllables, especially during scenes with arguing. At first, I thought it was just me, but later, my companions told me they felt the same. We wondered if the other audience members actually caught every line, for there were unintelligible parts during which there was laughter! We concluded that either we were too stupid to decipher what was being said, or they were ... (well, I guess if I continued on to the "else" of this, I'd again seem arrogant and obstinate, and offend people - so I won't (well, I don't really care about offending people I don't know and don't care about, but still, I don't want to do it too often))

All in all, still, I enjoyed the musical very much. Photography was not allowed, so I had to hide my camera and stealthily steal a few (terrible and not-worth-mentioning) shots. But here they are:

Failed shot (this is what happens when you don't-look-just-shoot):

Slightly better one:

Another slightly better one (with people in it):

The best of the awful lot, taken during the curtain call:

Further reading:

Next: Adam the Musical!


§nóflèk said...

wow you're fast!!! maybe i should just link to yours hehe :D

Kelly Lai said...

Not a singer but love your blog especially on the little voice of yours... looking forward to upcoming blog...

neil said...

Sno - but you must write, because your views will be different from mine, and I'm sure I'd like to read them! (and I'll put a link to yours on mine when you have it up)

Kelly - thanks so much! I hope I won't disappoint you with the occasional rubbish posts :P

Constantine Flux said...

man of the evening... somehow that title felt more like a technicality than honorary :P

my summary in no particular order:
- superb choreography
- cheesy dialog
- garbled vocals
- vertigo inducing seats
- visibility partially obstructed
- ingenious transforming set
- a good time with the gals
- main dish gravy could have been better

so, have you ripped it yet? :)

neil said...

Look who we have here! Hush about the ripping, k? :P