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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Puteri Gunung Ledang - The Musical Season 3

A Review by Jiman Casablancas



I mean, I can't see anyone else sliding into the role of the absolutely beautiful, all singing and all dancing demure princess turned curse-spelling rebellious damsel in distress Puteri Gunung Ledang. AC Mizal and Adlin pulak, jangan cakaplah. They played their character with much gusto like only they could. With their characters as Gusti Adipati and Sultan Melaka, it is very easy for them to go really over the top, but they played it down just nice. Just enough. Which I thought was just fantastic.

Ida Mariana as Bayan is also a favourite. I need to tell you this story though. Ida is my senior in law school and she has always been one of my favourite seniors. I always knew that she loves singing, and I even sang for her once during Matriculation orientation week. (I-kan ingat tak???hahhaha). We then grew apart after she graduated but then met again through - you guessed it, facebook. So obviously I have a soft spot for her. But those of you who watched the show must also agree with me that she just nailed the part. Having had the chance of first watching Sukania Venugopal as Bayan, all I can say is that they both brought something different to the plate. Whilst Sukania was more maternal in approaching the character, Ida was both soft but firm. A caretaker who truly cares for her Puteri and want nothing but the best for her.


Another original cast of PGL, Stephen Rahman Hughes made playing Hang Tuah look easy. When he lifted his voice in song or lifted his feet in dance, it always seemed natural. The Mat Salleh accent which was soooo evident in Season 1 is now gone. The awkwardness in performing the silat is now replaced with fluid motions of the pencak. This time, Stephen really becomes Hang Tuah. It doesn't hurt that he's also very nice to look at.

The chorus boys and girls are also a joy to watch. They all sing, act, and dance their heart out with enough distinct quirky sensibility that made the cast so invigorating. I especially love the two dayangs who were referred to as "Badut Kembar" and also the nenek kebayans.

These characters were a major foundation of PGL and helped give the production a real sense of heart and emotional purpose. With brilliant directing, brilliant music and brilliant set design (kudos to Cik Lik!!! clap! clap! clap! standing ovation, pat on the back, the works) PGL is thoroughly entertaining - from the word go. I left Istana Budaya, both times, with a sense of pride. It gave me a reason to be proud of being Malaysian again - and that's a fantastic thing. Good job all around!

1 comment:

John said...

I am looking for the original CD, similar cover posted on this side. Any idea where I can purchase a copy.

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