Post Curtain Call:
If you’re not familiar with the opera ‘La Bohème’, you might be familiar with the musical ‘Rent’. ‘Rent’ is loosely based on Giacomo Puccini’s ‘La Bohème’; you’ll start noticing the similarities when the word “rent” is used, when you find out what’s wrong with Mimi, and at the end when Mimi says, “They call me… Mimi.”
It’s not often we get to catch shows in Pentas 1, but when we do, it’s always a different set up. For ‘La Bohème’ the stage area donned a large elevated stage and in front of it- the orchestra pit. On stage was the opening set. The set, although minimal and lightweight for swift scene changes were a tad bit too bland.
The two-hour-long show was split into four acts: two acts before intermission and two acts after. This gave the sing through show a very fluid feel and it didn’t leave the audience bored because the acts were filled with substance. The whole plot was jam-packed with substantial subplots which made the overall production more interesting.
The costumes that the cast were dressed in were very timely and appropriate. The colours complimented each other, enough for the leads to stand out in the crowd. Oh yes, there was a crowd. This might be the biggest ensemble we’ve ever seen. So big, that the stage area was cramped with too many people especially during Parpignol’s scene.
Most of the cast members, we felt, had vocal capabilities better than their acting capabilities. Perhaps it had to do with the use of non-English, so the actors perhaps were focusing on that more than acting? We’re not so sure, but they looked like their acting focus was dimmed.
Notable performances include Mimi, played by Ang Mei Foong, who displayed good vocal abilities and who shone through towards the end of the play when her characters shit got real. Rodolfo, played by Solomon Chong, whose high notes was much better towards the end. And Musetta, played by Yeoh Ker Ker, although her dress was pretty weird in the beginning.
The verdict? You should definitely check it out! If you’ve not watched an opera before, you should catch this. It’s a good deflowering opera for you, with the right amount of drama and comedy.