Arts

Published: Wednesday April 23, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday April 23, 2014 MYT 8:35:49 PM

Sinbad, the Musical: Looks good, sounds good, but feels like Aladdin

Taking flight: Australia actor Mikey Hart, who plays the lead role in Sinbad The Musical, is one of the show’s big highlights. The show is now playing at KLPac until April 27 before moving up to Penang next month.

Taking flight: Australia actor Mikey Hart, who plays the lead role in Sinbad The Musical, is one of the show’s big highlights. The show is now playing at KLPac until April 27 before moving up to Penang next month.

Sinbad, the Musical was a visual feast, but the storytelling wasn’t plain sailing.

We know the story of Sinbad, the Sailor. We know his seven adventures and voyages. We know the villains he defeated and the monsters he faced. And who can forget the maidens he gets acquainted with on his journeys. So it was a surprise that director Joe Hasham’s Sinbad, the Musical, written by Australian Mark Cleary, looked more like a production of Aladdin, the Arabian Thief.

There was the ruling Caliph, whose mind is controlled by an evil vizier, much like how Ja'far enslaved the Sultan in Aladdin. The vizier attempts to marry the Caliph’s daughter to seal his power, much like what Ja'far tried to do with Princess Jasmine. Along the way, Aladdin... sorry, Sinbad and the pretty maiden fall in love (sans magical carpet ride ballad), and with the help of a mischievous Hajji (erm, pet monkey Abu?), Sinbad and his crew thwart the vizier's evil plot.

And, yes, there was a genie, too.

Just because one tale is based on another doesn’t make it bad. Sinbad's stories are based on Homer’s The Odyssey. But this musical, with 18 songs and a cast of 40, struggled to find solid ground.

Still, Mikey Hart in the titular role was a delight. The Australian actor exuded so much charisma on stage, it was infectious. He had the right mix of enigma and mischief to bring his character to life, and no one can deny his singing. More than that, the chemistry he shared with the cast was amazing. He looked at ease with the Malaysian cast and, when required, let the others shine.

Siena Elchaar, 15, as the impish Hajji, was another captivating talent to watch. She commanded the stage and mesmerised the audience. Even the elaborate set was unable to drown the little actor, who previously played Annie in Annie, the Musical.

But imagine a ship, bracing itself against a storm. The captain and crew are prepared for violent winds and deadly waves. But at the height of it all, nothing happens.

In Sinbad, the evil vizier could've been defeated by any man on the street. Yes, the fate of a town and its people were threatened, and someone almost killed themself, but these elements weren't terribly compelling. And there wasn't much of Sinbad on stage either. For a musical named after him, he had less stage time than some of the supporting cast.

Thankfully, the stage set and some catchy tunes made this journey smoother.

> "Sinbad, the Musical" will run at KL Performing Arts Centre, Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, off Jalan Ipoh, KL until April 27, before heading to Penang PAC from May 2-11. Tickets are RM80 to RM150, with special rates for seniors, students, the disabled and The Actors Studio cardholders. Visit www.sinbadthemusical.com, www.theactorsstudio.com.my, www.klpac.org or call (03) 4047 9000 for details.

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, Sinbad the Musical, KlPac, musical theatre, Joe Hasham, Mark Cleary, Mikey Hart, Sinbad, theatre review

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