TV SMITH's Dua Sen: Four Bloggers & A Funeral Band
TV Smith's Dua Sen
TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...

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FOUR BLOGGERS & A FUNERAL BAND
plus a couple of other reviews
by TV Smith
23/10/05


Rainforest, 1 U, Bandar Utama

Take one Ah Lian with lacey red bra and visible black panty. Sit her next to the Ah Beng with pointed index finger in one ear and flip-phone glued to the other. Give them little plastic cups filled with beer and ice cubes. Now; multiply this scene by 500 times and you get Oktoberfest Malaysian style.

I have never seen so many Ah Bengs and Ah Lians congregating (outside Sungei Wang) since the Sunrise Jazz Festival. The organisers obviously knew Bandar Utama folks are the epitome of kiasuness. They came up with a no-brainer crowd puller. Exchange a disgraced one ringgit coin for a bottle of beer. 5000 Kiasuhans (including Suanie) showed up and the allocated 500 bottles finished in 5 minutes.

I arrived after the pandemonium and settled for warm, expensive, canned Aussie beers. Unlike the original festival in Bavaria, there were no beer tents, no one-liter-tankards, no buxom beer maids nor oom pah pah bands. But never underestimate the power of make believe.

A sombre group of men dressed in black shirts and white hats appeared. They played a marching version of Shanghai Beach that thrilled Fireangel to bits. With enough barley juice; the band and the atmosphere kind of grow on you. We were in one giant make believe forest after all...

Zeta Bar, KL Hilton, Brickfields

"Don't you like the jokers with the mirror who check if you have a bomb under your car when you drive up? Those flers won't know a bomb if it came up and introduced itself to them..."

Those were the famous not-so-last words of Patrick Teoh when I told him I was at The KL Hilton the night before. I was there to check out visiting Mumbai-based jazz ensemble, Soul Yatra. Their music is advertised as fusing blues, flamenco, samba, funk, afro-Cuban, hip-hop as well as Indian classical music like raag and taal. Sounds intriguing, tempting and at RM 50 per head (pre-booked), even reasonable right?

What we got instead was a cautious repertoire of clinically-delivered, STANDARD jazz standards. So safe; the bassist, saxophonist and lead singer never moved more than an inch from their assigned spot. Sure. They were technically competent and the staid crowd even tapped their fingers momentarily. Yatra without Soul.

I quickly down the complimentary Henessy XO and switched to cheaper stuff. RM 25+ per beer is fair donation to The Paris Hilton Lifestyle Fund, I tried to convince myself. Bomb inspectors don't come cheap these days, we were told. Staffing the hotel's tiny check-in counter with 20 people ain't cheap either, I suspect. But RM 11 for two hours parking in Brickfields?

Pentas 1, KLPac, Sentul

Almost every friend who caught Pygmalion warned me against it. Patrick said it was so bad it might be good for me. The sado-masochist part in me stirred. I have always enjoyed the comedies of Indi and Harith. Most of all, I wanted to go watch Janet, Cristina and Susan (my friends from The Phil).

As it turned out, Michelle Quah (as Lisa Doolittle) and the chorus girls saved the day. None of the guys there can sing to save their balls. Grumpy Rex Harrison's original talk-singing suddenly sounded as cute as Gwen Stefani, in my mind.

The part-Malaysianisation of the Bernard Shaw classic is enigmatic and risky business. Many Malaysians have fond memories of the very Cockney Eliza from their pirated copies of My Fair Lady. To hear Ah Lian Doolittle switched back and forth, from Kepong England to Queen's English is quite unbearable, to put it mildly.

Tell me. How many Malaysians, let alone local theatre goers, actually speak this way? Is Malaysian theatre ending up like radio where bad Manglish substitutes good writing? Add the uneven adaptation, the mismatched lead players, throw in some psychedelic time-lapse clouds on the backdrop and you get a show only director Paul Loosely can fully appreciate.

© 2005 TV SMITH
Link to this article: http://www.tvsmith.net.my/duasen/231005_fourbloggers.html

See also: ONE DAY IN DAMANSARA | MALLBRATS

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