Wednesday, May 21, 2014

REVIEW: Tap Dogs

Academy of Performing Arts Lyric Theatre, Tuesday May 20

I saw Taps Dogs in 1997 (part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival); thus the question was, do I want to see it again? The answer is absolutely YES and I did last night!

The immediately reaction I had last night was that some of the performers are looking a bit “old” and “tired”; and seeing them trying to look “young” and “hip” was a bit off-putting. That reaction however didn’t last very long as the performers quickly offset it with their skill, technique and energy. For a show based on tap dancing to be able to last this long (almost 20 years of continuous touring); and have been performed in 330 cities in 37 countries, it has to offer something beyond just plain good tap-dancing.

The strength of Dein Perry's Tap Dogs is its concept executed in flawless and tight fluidity. It went beyond the ballet tap of Gene Kelly, ballroom tap of Fred Astaire and jazz tap of Gregory Hines; and brought it down to a street and industrial level. The show also boasts a compact set that transform continuously to showcase and compliments the different sounds and tap rhythms. This 80-minute show with no interval is packed with great routines and enough variations to ease the sometimes mind-numbing endless taps. Personally, I dig the basketball and sound-pad routine. I am also glad that the show balanced the heaviness of the concept with the duet by Douglas Mills and Nathaniel Hancock, which provided some good light tap-dancing.

I am glad that I went to see it last night. Would I want to see it again? Sure! After 17 years again?

Dein Perry's TAP DOGS
Produced by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions in association with Broadway Entertainment Group
Lyric Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
May 20 - 25 2014

Sheldon Perry
Douglas Mills
Chaise Rossiello
Richie Miler
Nathaniel Hancock


Monday, May 12, 2014

REVIEW: Gounod's Faust by Opera Hong Kong

Cultural Centre Garnd Theatre, Friday May 9

From Goethe to Goth. For this year's Le French May, it offers to show how the French composer Gounod reduced a thoughtful psychological tragedy by German writer Goethe down to a frothing Gothic romp. Director Paul-Emile Fourny magnified this vision by limiting the color palette on stage to grayscale with occasional red; and it worked. Well, to a certain extent...

Read my full review at HKELD, click here.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

REVIEW: Ghost - The Musical (Manila)

Carlos P Romulo Auditorium, Sunday May 4

I saw the original production of Ghost in London (see my review here); and it was made okay by some stunning visual tricks to put forth the key element of the narrative - ghost. Unfortunately, that is one thing that was totally lacking in the Manila production. It tried, but failed miserably to the point of distraction, one can hear the audience giggling.

Except for the Christian Bautista (as Sam), who was particularly bad, the cast was not particularly good. Cris Villonco (as Molly) was tired and had difficulty sustaining high notes. Hans Eckstein and Ima Castro as Carl Bruner and Oda Mae Brown fared a bit better. Christian Baustista was as wooden as when I saw him years ago as Tony in West Side Story, while he sounded pinched vocally.

It is very brave of Atlantis Productions to bring GHOST to Manila; and that is most commendable. However, I do wish that the choices are better. I used to travel to Manila for their productions. Some of the more memorable ones are: Next To Normal, Rock of Ages and In the Heights. But the recent Carrie and now Ghost do make me wonder whether I should continue to do so... maybe it is losing its magic.