Post Curtain Call:
Short + Sweet Musical 2016

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The night started off with the usual introductions from Faridah Merican and Joe Hasham, as tradition goes. Being the “biggest little festival in the world”, ‘Short + Sweet’ has a group of sponsors headed by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (the CEO was in the audience). Then the couple left the stage and we were pitched right into the first act.

In the first Short, ‘and then we all die’, Hannan Azlan– a musician with a memorable voice- took to the stage with a song imbued with her own honest style. There was good timing in this production, one instance being how the spotlight went off abruptly with a well-timed sound effect. After the spotlights came back on, Hannan had retreated to a keyboard and two dancers (Arief Hamizan and Ho Lee Ching) were occupying the front of the stage.

Without giving too much away, it was a simple and beautiful performance. The dance between two graceful individuals conveyed so much, so easily- it could be said to be as direct as the lyrics accompanying it. A turn in focus halfway through the performance was rather cleverly executed; a break in the fourth wall, one could say, and the ending was as abrupt as the beginning.

In ‘The Things We Do For Love’, it was apparent from the start that we would be left in tears of mirth. Putrina Rafie and Sudhan Nair delivered a hilarious exchange between what seemed at first to be a simple girl who’d hit hard times and a nervous geek with a crush. Although there seemed a little discord at first, the performance smoothened out considerably soon and the audience were hooting and hollering at the brilliant lyrics and cliché choreography (done on purpose, obviously).

The lighting was unusual, and used to good effect. The comedic value of this production was sky high, and the twist that jolted it into “dark humour” territory just made it so much better.

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The set of ‘On The Other Side’ grabbed our attention at once- the bedspread very markedly divided into two hues pretty much gave us an idea of what was coming up. Roshinee Mookaiah and Vale Wong were a couple going through ‘couple’ things, and brought out their characters strongly. There was great timing between both actors, especially during their duets.

The concept was a good one and the lyrics, again, kept the audience engaged- Roshini’s lines, although not as humorous as Vale’s, were nevertheless sincere enough that we could relate to her unhappiness (even those of us who are more like Vale’s character!).

Next up, we were a little puzzled as to why a film was being projected onstage, instead of the presence of actors. It became clear soon enough that this was a prologue of sorts, and we got with the program. ‘CS the Musical: Conflict (re) Solution v2.6b’ was nothing short of excellent in concept; the idea and writing shone through the whole production brilliantly. While led to watch what we at first perceived to be a bunch of nerds engaging in a live action video game, certain similarities to real life figures were formed right before our eyes (not to mention some movie references).

Execution-wise, the acting was great- each performer deserves their own mention: Siti Farrah Abdullah, Aiman Asmawar, Safia Hanifah, Phraveen Arikiah, Alfred Loh, Tan Wei Ling, Tiara Jane Anchant, and Bella Rahim played each of their characters- even the minor ones- so vividly that we remember each one. Choreography was perhaps a little messy when synchronization slipped, but otherwise only served to strengthen the presence of each performer, and the use of props was so thoroughly pleasant to watch.

The next production was interesting from the start- two spotlights shone down on Izen Kong and Afhamza separately, and we thought we could guess where ‘The Last Rendezvous’ was going. Both actors had great physical presence, not to mention a flawless dance scene. Choreography was brilliant and it showed.

At some points, however, the lyrics got lost in translation. The concept was a clever one, and the actors brought out the subject matter in a way that got through to the audience- the cliffhanger ending was a stroke of genius; it intensified the vibe of the piece and we knew what the ending was going to be.

‘Parallel’ closed the show, and the props were quite clever if minimalistic. The actors were on form, and kudos to Phraveen Arikiah and Sze Earn for the portrayals of their characters. Vinna Law was a gem- if somewhat rough around the edges- who appealed to the audience with her solo number and cheesy dance moves.

The number of puns in ‘Parallel’ was snigger-worthy, but otherwise links between events could have been stronger. Musically, it got the audience tapping their fingers, and the lyrics did each character justice.

All in all, the Gala Night of ‘Short + Sweet Musical 2016’ went without a hitch. We certainly loved the performances by each group, who evidently did their best. The list of winners were announced after a short Intermission, and here they are:

 

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BEST GLITZ & GLAMOUR

CS the Musical: Conflict (re) Solution v2.6b

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (FEMALE)

Putrina Rafie (The Things We Do For Love)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (MALE)

Afhamza (The Last Rendezvous)

BEST ACTOR (FEMALE)

Roshinee Mookaiah (On The Other Side)

BEST ACTOR (MALE)

Phraveen Arikiah (Parallel)

BEST COMPOSITION

Eric Loong (The Things We Do For Love)

BEST LIBRETTO

Terence Toh (Parallel)

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR

Loh Ui Li (On The Other Side)

BEST DIRECTOR

Freddy Tan (CS the Musical: Conflict (re) Solution v2.6b)

BEST NEWCOMER

Vinna Law (Parallel)

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR’S AWARD

Yoke Tan (The Things We Do For Love)

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD

CS the Musical: Conflict (re) Solution v2.6b

BEST OVERALL PRODUCTION

CS the Musical: Conflict (re) Solution v2.6b

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MERCEDES-BENZ MALAYSIA CREATIVE EXCELLENCE AWARD

Freddy Tan (CS the Musical: Conflict (re) Solution v2.6b)

 

SPECIAL THANKS

Dr. Claus Weidner

CEO Mercedes-Benz Malaysia

*All pictures were taken from the ‘Short+Sweet’ Facebook page.