Sunday, 12 October 2014

Short+Sweet – funny, fearless + fantastic

Short and Sweet (S+S) Gala Night performances at KL Performing Arts Centre, The Bling RIng.

Short and Sweet (S+S) Gala Night performances at KL Performing Arts Centre, The Bling RIng.

Young artistes prove an inspiration.

It is always a pleasure to watch great talent in action. And such was the case for me recently when I attended the Short+Sweet 2014 Musical competition at KLPac, which ran from Sept 24 to Oct 5. So impressed was I with the young actors bursting with enthusiasm, the original compositions and librettos which were so pleasing to the ear, as well as the exuberance of the audience (not to mention the gracious and passionate Short+Sweet organisers), that I felt I had to have my say.

Started by Mark Cleary more than a decade ago in Australia, Short+Sweet (a multi-form arts platform presenting festivals in theatre, dance, music-theatre and comedy) has had a long and effective seven-year run in this country. This year, I was especially surprised to witness in person so many young people who were committed to their craft. 

Not every one of the 15 musicals presented at the musical competition was knock-out wonderful, of course. There were hits and misses, bless them all!

300 Million: The Reconceptualization of A Conception, directed by a very loud-haired Ross Stephenson, was not just fun, it was so forward and fearless. Composer and lyricist duo Alvin Looi and Karynn Tan (who also worked on A Woman At War), served up a very witty and enjoyable musical that had the crowd enthralled.

The actors were a hoot and brought to life their characters in full glory (all were cast as either sperm or contraceptives). The Bling Ring and Working Title from Week One were two other acts which got my attention (director Freddy Tan, who doubled up as one of the stars, even had me laughing out loud).

Then Week Two arrived. Vale Wong’s One Day completely stopped me in my tracks. I had tears in my eyes. The harmonies were all in tune, the solos dramatic and heart-wrenching, the story so simple and so poignant. I had to ask: “Who is this Vale Wong? Where did he come from?”

And then just when I thought I’d seen it all, Short+Sweet hit me with Dominic Lucien’s Cartography Of A Relationship. So clever was this musical, it deserved a standing ovation. Of course, composer/lyricist Nick Choo is no newcomer, and Ida Mariana is a pleasure to watch in any guise (here, she was cast as a GPS system).

All said, to me, Short+Sweet Malaysia 2014 Musical (just part of the nine-week festival encompassing dance, song, stand-up comedy and theatre) was a great success. To give a platform, as well as props, to the young talents of this nation, is ever so important, and Datuk Faridah Merican and Joe Hasham tirelessly do so year after year. 

It is wonderful to see everyone in the foyer of KLPac, cheerful and excited about performing on stage. The camaraderie is warm, the enthusiasm infectious; the courage and confidence live theatre afford to an individual cannot be overstated. Kudos to all who took part! 

Related story:

Who won what at the Short+Sweet Malaysia 2014

Tags / Keywords: Short Sweet , Musical

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