TV SMITH's Dua Sen: M! The Mess
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...


M! THE MESS (A Review)
by TV Smith

My secondary school was big. We had 5000 students. We had some important children, some VIP parents and VVIP patrons. So, once a year we'll find some brown nosing sponsors and hold one big stylo mylo Sports Day at the Merdeka Stadium. I remember taking part in the opening ceremony, where our teams will march past the grandstand, Olympics-style. On the podium, our headmaster stood solemnly in salute, fantasizing he's The King or the PM.

That was what I felt 10 minutes into M! The Opera. It was like watching a high school musical at grand Istana Budaya. There were talent, no doubt. But all was squandered on a staging that came off as one big mess.

If you have not read the synopsis, you would have wondered what the story is, if there is one. With so many people scurrying round the stage, is difficult to concentrate on any of the characters, let alone the story.

The main character M was as appealing as a plastic 'leather' jacket. At one point, I wished a light fell on M so that we can get on with the night. I understand he's suppose to be a Mat Rocker. He came off as a Mat Motor instead. I know there's a fine line between the two but M really murdered M!

If you are planning to bail out at intermission like most folks, I have more bad news for you. That won't happen till ten in the night. If you are brave enough to stay on, you might feel compensated when super George Chan deliver some Broadway moments.

Broadway? Yes, one of M!'s biggest flaw is the fatuous need (as with many local productions) to create 'fusion arts.' Nothing wrong in that. Fashionable and politically correct as it is, the cross-cultural kuali dished out another plate of bad rojak.

The orchestra sounded a bit hollow but fortunately there was little fusion between East and West in the score. I looked forward to those precious few moments when the gamelan and other traditional instruments took center stage.

If the producers woke up one morning and realized it is more of a musical (than an opera), there was very little music to remember it by. The Surtitles (subtitles) display at Istana Budaya is always wacky and unreliable at best. Pair that with the incredibly corny 'libretto' and you have a separate comedy running loose.

M! The Opera would have worked better if not for its pretensions and illusions of grandeur. The many talented people on board deserved better material, direction and costumes. It's someone's big wank that missed the wall. Mess!

Update: I went for another viewing accompanied by Suanie and FireAngel. It was delightful seeing friends Cindy, Janet, Nicole, Doreen and gang on stage again. While there were some subtle improvements, the second viewing reaffirmed my earlier view. Of course it didn't help, FireAngel was whispering sweet WTFs into my ear throughout the night...

Their views:
Midnite Lily

© 2006 TV SMITH
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