P Ramlee the Musical Review8:59:00 AM
Ever since I was little I have loved the theatres and performing arts.
I grew up watching theatres as my parents used to bring me with them since I was a little kid. I remember watching Phantom of the Opera and Cats in 1995, Grease in 2009 and Les Miserables in 2012 when I was in London. I also remember that my parents used to bring me to watch local theatres too at the Actors Studio when it was still below Dataran Merdeka. Later on, I started to watch theatres on my own with friends. Luckily I have friends who share the same interest as me!
So when musicals started to be shown in Kuala Lumpur of course I was ecstatic! I remember watching Cats (again) when it was shown in Malaysia. At Istana Budaya, I also watched Puteri Gunung Ledang, Terima Kasih Cinta, Dreamgirls, Cuci the Musical, Bahayanya Wanita. I have also managed to catch a lot other english theatres shown at KLPac or Actors Studio (see Brickfields Now and Then 2 by Thor). I had also watched the previous seasons of P Ramlee the musical at Istana Budaya when they performed here the previous years.
I grew up watching P Ramlee's black and white movies and listened to some of his songs so when they decided to make a theatre out of it of course I felt that I should not miss the musical which is a tribute to him. That said, a person who is not into P Ramlee movies or music also will find the musical entertaining and fun. For instance, my husband has never actually watched a P Ramlee movie before since his younger primary school days was spent in the UK. He grew up there. However, I can tell that he had fun too when we watched the previous shows. And this year, when Hasanah invited me to watch P Ramlee and offered to get tickets, it was naturally something that I couldn't refuse. What more knowing that my friends are acting in it! (not being biased here!).
So, last Saturday I watched P Ramlee the Musical for (I think) the third time with a different set of cast. What did I think of it? It was awesome!
First of all, the story line. The twist and turns. The ups and down. How P Ramlee handled his stardom. From a nobody turning into a star. What he was willing to sacrifice to contribute to the society on a larger scale. He was willing to sacrifice everything that he had to chase his dream.
It also shows the side of him whereby, even though he seemed to have it all: the perfect wife (wives), fame and success in what he does, it wasn't easy to be him. What you see on the papers and in the media is actually just a front that he puts to cover what he really was and how he had to mask his pain from the papparazi. But you could tell that it hurt him. However, he really was a workaholic and was passionate in what he did. Making music, acting, writing lyrics, singing, acting, script writing and directing movies. He was really multi talented as he brought Malaysia's name (at that time Malaya) on the international stage.
Apart from that, the musical delved into his personal relationships from his first love Azizah, to his first wife Junaidah, Norizan and Saloma. His relationships prior to Saloma all ended in divorce due to work, fame and I guess what we can call fate.
The first love Azizah was played by Ruzana Ibrahim, Junaidah was played by Lisa Surihani, Norizan by Tiara Jacqulina and Saloma by Nadia Aqilah. P Ramlee was played by Tony Eusoff and his manager Sukardi was played by Tengku Iedil Putra.
It just so happens that 2 of the wives and his first love are played by my friends.
Firstly, I will have to talk about Nadia Aqilah as Saloma. I must say that upon seeing her performance many, many times in theatre and when she was in Luscious singing with Ruzana Ibrahim and Eenaz Mokhtar, this has got to be her most powerful performance that I have ever seen before. She definitely wins as the best singer in this musical too. Her voice is really amazing! She makes it look so effortless when she sings but it is crazy how she hits those high notes. I couldn't help but to sing along to the songs that she sang. I really had goosebumps.
Lisa Surihani as Junaidah: I have never seen Lisa performing in theatres before and I must say that Lisa did an amazing job. I know previously she acted as Tun Siti Hasmah. I really wanted to watch her perform, but that was the time I was in the hospital carrying my baby at that time. However, the sweet and kind-hearted soul that she was, she took her time off from her busy schedule for rehearsals to visit me when I was in the hospital carrying Jibrael.
As Junaidah, her solos touched my heart and made me tear a little bit. From our seats (which was not so far from the stage) I could actually see her tears welling up her eyes while she was singing and it made me tear too while she was singing and (almost) crying at the same time. Her control of emotions was superb. I could sense Junaidah's roller coaster of emotions through Lisa. From someone who made me laugh and laugh to her pain when she divorced, Junaidah's story broke my heart. The wife of a star who was left neglected due to a man's love for success. The attention by the media was just too overwhelming for her and she did not want to be in the spotlight. I could feel Junaidah's story come out alive from Lisa's acting. Apart from that it was the first time I listened to Lisa singing in public and I must say that Lisa has a very beautiful voice.
Tiara Jacquelina on the other hand played Norizan this time around. I remember that I was blown away by Melissa Saila's performance as Norizan before and I must say that this time around Tiara blew me away with her performance too. Her 'royal' air and her anger was translated through her acting. Tiara is also the producer of this musical and I must commend her for putting up such a good show. From the props, the music, the choreography, the choice of casts and the show in general, everything was perfect! Norizan was portrayed as confident, sassy and very proper. She thought she could handle P Ramlee, but in the end, she too felt lonely and neglected because of his rising career. I could feel her pain and bitterness.
Ruzana Ibrahim played Azizah. It seems that this time around, Azizah was not given much of the spotlight in the musical and her parts were shortened. It was a pity because Ruzana nailed her character as the sweet, unassuming "same kampung" first love. Ruzana was also versatile, as she also played as a cabaret singer and was also the understudy for Junaidah. I had fun watching Ruzana dance and singing in almost every scene too! I have seen her in PGL the Musical, The Secret Life of Nora, Broadway's Dreamgirls : the Musical in Malaysia and a lot of other theatres. She's a seasoned pro and she always stands out from the crowd with her quirky theatrics. She played her part very well.
Iedil was really outstanding in his performance as Sukardi. Really entertaining and as usual he made me laugh so hard with his jokes. He's also a seasoned pro in the theatre, both English and Malay.
Last but certainly not the least Tony Eusoff as P Ramlee. I cannot begin to describe how good he was. I've seen him perform before but I must say that this time around his voice really is similar to P Ramlee. It is really very good and powerful. His acting also was excellent. He played the part of P Ramlee very well. They couldn't have chosen a better person for the role.
I gave a standing ovation to the above mentioned cast. They all deserve it.
All in all, the show was really entertaining and I will actually recommend anyone who hasn't seen it to go see it!
I hope to see more of them all in the theatre scene.
Captured P Ramlee coming out from the stage at the end of the show.
The theatre and musical lovers I was with at the P Ramlee Musical. We acted like groupies that day! Haha. Thanks to my sister Hasanah Hilmi who organised and purchased the tickets for us yet again! Hehe. We had so much fun!!! Here with Sakinah Hilmi, Sarah Rusli, Sarah Hilmi, Aida Ishak and Alia Ishak.
Seven of us in the group. And of course Khubayb aka @kneok was the photographer for the day hehehe.
I'm so proud of my soul sister Ruzana Ibrahim ♡ She did a great job yet again at the musical tonight. She never fail to impress me! I love theatres and musicals in general but having one of my best friends in the musicals I've watched at Istana Budaya is just amazing! Couldn't take my eyes off her onstage. Your quirkiness was just so you Ruzana!
You have come a long way since the first time you started theatre years ago. I think I've been to all your shows and I loved each one of it! It's been a pleasure to be there watching you doing your thang!! Hehe. Thanks for being the passionate and artsy person that you are.
Here is Lisa giving a bow to the audience.
I am so proud of this beautiful soul right here. It was her first musical and she delivered a stellar performance. Thank you for inviting and bringing me backstage too. Was fun taking a lot of photos with you and the rest of the cast.
I am wearing my @aere printed top which will be released pretty soon.
With Junaidah and Sukardi after the show. Outstanding performance by both of them. You guys were really great. :) Thanks guys for the superb performance. I had a splendid time watching. :)
P Ramlee and his loves. haha
Thanks Aunty Mira for arranging me to go backstage and meet the cast =)
Yes, it was EPIC!
Ruzana Ibrahim's number 1 fans!
The show has been extended till today 13th October 2014 because of the good response. So go ahead and get tickets if you haven't watched it yet! I hope we get to see more musicals like this, and in fact, Tiara announced that PGL will be showing again. You guys don't miss it!
Just click THEATRE if you want to see my previous posts on theatres.
PEACE & LOVE!