Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lat Kampung Boy the Musical

My heart is broken....

Let me start off with this: Much love to everyone involved with this, and even more so to Datuk Mohamad Noor Khalid (aka Lat) but this needs to be said (as a warning to all of you who are going to watch it):
Please lower your expectations to ZERO, or you will walk away disappointed.

So let me reiterate, so that we are clear:
- What I'm NOT saying: "Don't watch it".
- What I AM saying: "Watch it with very low expectations".

Lots of ppl milling around looking at the exhibits in the hall...

Anyway, since this musical is gonna be running for a while, I'll try not to blurt out any "spoilers" but generally: It is an almost 3 hour staging about the famous and much loved Malaysian cartoonist, Lat - from his youth to when he was a struggling reporter to when he achieved world wide fame.
I can't help myself (such a poser, I know :P)...

Overall, I really appreciate the effort (ESPECIALLY since Malaysian musicals are so rare) - they managed to pull together some really good sets, nice costumes, pockets of good laughs, entertaining dancing, mostly** good singing and music...

... BUT the flow/storyline, how certain scenes were structured, the under utilisation of a few characters and the overemphasis on how Lat seems to be The Chosen One made me CRINGE and (in some parts) hide behind my friend's shawl in a desperate attempt to block out the pain.
(** Oof. Don't get me started on the singing - while some of their voices were hampered by bad sound system quality, there were a couple of parts, I won't name names, that screamed "Good, but not good enough for a musical!!!")

I really wanted to love this musical, REALLY I did... However, in the end, I just walked away feeling sad and kinda angry because I invested 3 hours of my life (and some $$) to have it made clear to me that Malaysia is still so, SO far behind other countries in terms of musical productions.
(Maybe I just have myself to blame? I watched Wicked in London, and that really is excellent - hard to even come close to)

All the actors, dancers, directors and Datuk Lat on stage...

Here are the details of the play:
Lat Kampung Boy The Musical:

Director: Harith Iskandar and Hans Isaac
Writer: Harith Iskandar
Music: Michael Veerapan
Dance Choreographer: ?
Costume: ?
Joint Producers: Malaysian National Institute of Translation and Tall Order Production, in collaboration with the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry.

Lat Kampung Boy the Musical chronicles top cartoonist Datuk Mohamad Noor Khalid (aka Lat)'s journey to stardom.

- Actors: Awie, Datuk Rahim Razali, Jalil Hamid, Douglas Lim, Sandra Sodhy and Atilia.
- Dancers: ?

Venue: Panggung Sari, Istana Budaya
(58 Jalan Kuantan (off Jalan Tun Razak), Titiwangsa, 53200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Ticket Price:
- RM 40/ 70/ 100/ 120/ 160/ 200/ 230/ 300 (adults)

Dates: March 16 to April 3, 2011.
Time: 8.30pm daily and also 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays (No show on Mondays)

Ticket info:
- call +603 4147 8600 , or
- refer to ticket2u official website.

If you want more details, refer to Istana Budaya official website.


- HorusPorus
- learning to write
- This is oh so random
- 3 f's: Flashback for future
- bryanlyt.com
- Leonard Chua

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  1. Ohh... and I was planning to go watch this! So, better save my moolah for a good meal, eh?

  2. to Pureglutton:
    I think its still ok to go watch, as long as you don't expect too much - it is rare to get a Malaysian musical after all, and the singing and dancing is not bad.
    (Just pls dont buy the 300 buck tickets)

  3. thats a pity to hear, heard atilia perform in p ramlee and that was really good, wanted to see if i could squeeze a free nite to catch this.

  4. to Joe:
    Well, she's still pretty good in this musical too - Didn't watch P.Ramlee but heard good things about her performance there.

    ... I just wish they had actually used her more, to her full potential.
    (But of course for now, cannot compare to the musical elite in Wicked)

  5. remember reading Lat's comic when I was in primary school.. but that was it! After that.. no more memories whatsoever

  6. Ahhhhhhhhh what a shame! Lat was like a childhood hero to me - many an hour spent standing at the comic racks in MPH flipping through those huge comic books!

    Though I suppose it might be somewhat expected, since it's more or less a biography of sorts, right? As in the same way that a biography of James Cameron would be infinitely less exciting than the movies he makes?

  7. yikes. but ya, i was surprised to see lotsa comments on twitter from people who had watched it and slammed it. maybe it needed a few more months of fine-tuning before opening, huh. i wouldn't mind watching it (for free, if ever possible, heheh) out of curiosity, but three hours does seem too precious to spend on something potentially unsatisfying...

  8. I'm never a huge fan of musicals. Only watched Wicked before. Although the plot is good, I did not like it.

  9. to thule aka leo:
    I have very fond memories of reading Lat when I was young too! Loved imagining the fun life in a kampung. :)
    (Altho I know I am too much of a spoilt city gal to survive there long)

    to timing:
    Well, that's the thing - At least if they called it "Datuk Lat the Musical" then I would be able to manage my expectations a bit... but they named it Lat Kampung Boy the Musical so I was expecting something else completely!

    to Sean:
    It needed a complete rewrite or maybe just rename it to Datuk Lat the Musical.

    to Michelle Chin:
    I kinda like musicals. Well, 1 out of 3 (international) and 1 out of 5 (local) anyway...
    (Eh? How come u didn't like Wicked - luved the storyling and the powerful vocals. Found some of the songs were really catchy too....)

  10. You know, even local comedy is getting a bit jaded. Perhaps we need fresh blood or just stop putting ppl in plays/musicals etc just because they are "somebody" but because "they can sing/act" ;) Thanks for the heads up - wasn't going to see it anyway :P

  11. yikes and i was thinking of going... hmmmm

  12. Huh?
    But I heard rave reviews -_-

  13. to Paris B:
    I hope that day** will come soon in terms of Malaysian musicals/ comedies.
    (**When we will have our "Wicked" or "Russell Peters" type talent)

    In terms of singer/songwriters though, the local scence is pretty good! - Luv Reza, Tempered Mental, Mia Palencia and Najwa.

    to babe_kl:
    Well, I think it's not a bad idea to go and watch for the fun of it -overall, it's not THAT bad... just don't buy the expensive tickets and don't expect too much.

    to nomadGourmand:
    Depends on who you ask/what they like I guess.

    To me, at the very least (ignoring all the other things like storyline/etc), a musical needs to have good singers with strong voices.
    (For example, I like Douglas Lim and he is very funny.. but his voice is just not good enough for a musical!)


Appreciate your thoughts, opinions and feedback. :)