Friday, 9 May 2014
#review: Sinbad the #musical
It probably doesn't make much of a difference whether I review this now or not, since there are only two more shows in this run - Saturday, 8.30pm and Sunday, 3.00pm. - and I heard that they're sold out. Then again, I suppose feedback is always good.
I enjoyed watching Sinbad, despite the kind of weak storyline as well as the kind of pathetic ending. I'm not sure what the actual Sinbad canon is supposed to be, except that he's this dashing sailor/pirate person, but for this musical, the storyline is a very basic (and slightly underdeveloped) 3-act hero's journey.
I suppose I should start with the plus points:
1) THE VIZIER IS AWESOME.
I honestly think Gene Sha Rudyn basically carried most of the show for me. He's the classic comic bad guy and I think he's a much stronger and well-rounded character than Sinbad was. Or maybe I just like the bad guy. Haha. (Ooo, he was a Malay rocker. Figures)
2) The group songs and choreography had great energy and were actually really entertaining
I particularly liked the group songs in the second act - "Orders is Orders" and "We're not that bad". I don't suppose they really added anything much to the story, but Huzzah and the guards were entertaining in this one (Huzzah kind of grows on you in this scene) and the choreography around the prisoners and their movable prison bars was interesting. From the first act, "We Work", "Sinbad the Sailor" and "Waiting for the day" were interesting enough to grab your attention as an opening scene, but I guess I don't remember anything catchy enough to make it memorable.
3) The singing is good
I mean, compared to the usual fare, these people can really sing. =) I'd rate them a couple notches up from Broken Bridges and super way better than Malaysian Girls. Can't really compare them to Marrying Me I guess due to the size of the productions.
I don't know what to say about him. Um. But I found his solo impressive, and he had great stage presence.
The not-so-plus points:
1) The hero didn't really feel heroic.
I mean, he was mainly just a love-sick fool. And an enchanted one at that, although he didn't believe in magic. He was rather good-looking though :)
2) I wasn't really sure what the Ezra character was for, and why she was a principal cast and why she had a solo, which I unfortunately tuned out on because I couldn't really get what she was singing. Sorry.
3) The story line was overall rather weak, though it had its funny moments either through a witty line or through one or other of the cast and ensemble's quirks. I'd say that this musical was not so much plot-driven as it was character driven. And the problem it had was that it was focusing on too many characters. So whilst it was entertaining, it wasn't really... cohesive. Maybe another bugbear I have (which others might not really care about) was how much it seemed to depend on cliches. Or what I feel were cliches at any rate.
Maybe the other thing is that... it didn't really have an emotional arc. Things happened. But they didn't really draw you in to feel with the characters. So it's bam-bam-bam, this and that happens, bam-bam-bam, something else happens. Which goes back to why the Vizier and Suliman stood out for me was that I felt them.
I think that's the best I can figure for now.
So I noted a few familiar faces in the musical program book.
One of which was that Dominic Luk, whom I worked with in Yes Broadway Penang, was the vocal master. That was like.. woah, really. And also Riena Aisya, one of the really dedicated dancers from Yes Broadway Penang was in the ensemble! Yay for them!
Alvin Looi, of course, who had been actively promoting this musical on facebook for the past few months. (Nah, there's your picture. Don't jeles anymore).
Oh. And the most astounding thing happened. Okay, it didn't just "happen" but... well. I walked down the stairs and saw a college friend of mine, and she was talking to this guy, and she's like "don't you remember each other?" Frankly, I didn't. And then she was like... "he was in Drunk Before Dawn". And I'm like, oh, okay. Brain doesn't quite remember but he's starting to seem more familiar. and then OHHH. Ten years. TEN YEARS DID NOT JUST HAPPEN.