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Musical Review: “Marrying Me” @ PenangPAC and KLPAC

I think I may have said this before, but just to hear the voice of Stephanie Van Driesen in the Actor’s Studio’s production of the original musical “Marrying Me” is worth the price of admission alone.

Stephanie, once again, shines as a very likeable character, wanting to be her own person and not to be shackled down by family expectations and obligations in regards to marriage.

The setting itself will undoubtedly ring true for many Malaysians who have felt the pressure from family to marry, who have dealt with guilt trips and underhandedness in order to preserve the family line.

The plot is solid, moving from ridiculous to funny to poignant, at times, but it is truly Van Driessen, and the voice, that carries the songs to new and interesting heights under the precise direction Christopher Ling.

I always enjoy Ling’s vibrant direction which typically employs simplistic sets with fast paced movement in and out by the actors, seamlessly connecting the scenes. The cast was energetic and clearly enjoying themselves. That makes a big difference for the audience.

Upbeat music. Witty dialogue. A storyline that Malaysians can relate to.

And that VOICE! Go enjoy an entertaining night at the theatre!

“Marrying Me” ended its run at PenangPAC on Sunday, but is coming to KLPAC starting December 13.

marrying me

Review: Postcards from Rosa

A witty and moving script from Des Sim.

An eye-catching and tight production from director Christopher Ling.

And a heart-warming and moving performance from Marina Tan.

Postcards from Rosa is a hit!

This is intimate theater at its best. PenangPAC Stage Two was arranged at an angle so only 80 seats cornered around the stage of faux tile floor with cloth backdrops which became the different settings of Rosa’s life by effective and eye-catching projected images which set the scene very well.

Grandma Rosa talks through her entire life, and it is a fascinating and intimate look at a Peranakan, Straits-Chinese family.

Tan adroitly plays all the characters of her entire life – her stoic father, her jealous step-mother, her children, and grandchildren. However, the centerpiece of the story is set around the unique and special relationship she had with her grandson Benny whom she inspired to see the world. She ends up living his life through the postcards she receives from him.

The play is all about family and the difficult relationships and requirements which come with a typical Chinese family. It’s never easy, but Rosa’s love for her family and her willingness to grow and learn through the years, gives the audience a fascinating cultural ride.

This is a one-woman show with lots of heart, and Tan gives her all in a very believable performance. Highly recommended.

You can catch the show at PenangPAC this weekend and then at the KL Performing Arts Centre starting next week.  Don’t miss it.