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Friday March 2, 2012

Upin and Ipin to perform on stage

POPULAR twins Upin and Ipin, along with their gang of friends and kampung residents from their self-titled animated series on Astro’s Disney Channel will be hitting the Istana Budaya stage on April 14 in “Upin and Ipin The Musical”.

The musical, which features an original storyline and a 55-strong cast ranging from five to 50-years old, will run from April 14 until May 6, with 23 evening and seven matinee shows. According to producer Burhanuddin Md Radzi, “Upin and Ipin The Musical” has also the most number of back-to-back performances scheduled to date.

“We’ve had such a great response that the tickets for the first few nights have been sold out. And Upin and Ipin is something for everyone, not just Malay audiences for which, we’ll also be holding a special 3pm performance of the musical in English on April 28,” said Burhanuddin.

Fun group: Invited guests and media were treated to a few scenes from the upcoming ‘Upin and Ipin The Musical’ during the production’s pre-launch event at Saloma Bistro and Theatre on Feb 27. The musical will be playing at the Istana Budaya from April 14 until May 6.

The production, which was a collaboration between creators Les’Copaque and CTRA Productions, will have local healthcare group KPJ Healthcare Berhad as its main sponsor.

Director Zaifri Husin, who was also the scriptwriter for this production, said athough his children were keen fans of the series, he himself had to delve through several DVD episodes to incorporate familiar elements from the series into the children’s musical.

“One thing everyone realised when refining the script, was that we had to keep very faithfully to the animated characters. Jarjit’s character will still come up with pantuns, there’ll be spiders and other familiar elements from the series. Even Upin and Ipin will enter the way they do on television,” said Zaifri.

“It’s the little things that the kids, who are our viewers, will notice. Otherwise it’s an original story and musical score, except for their theme song ‘Sahabat Selamanya’,” he added.

Mazhar Mahathir, 28 who plays a “Dr Ravi”, a dentist in this musical, is no stranger to the genre. But he notes that working with children is quite different compared to his previous experience with other musicals.

Having fun: Cast members of “Upin and Ipin The Musical”, singing and dancing together with the Ipin mascot.

“It’s fun. The kids are so full of energy, we can be rehearsing for two to three hours straight, and they’re still as energetic at the end of the rehearsal. Kids are really good at performing these days, and I think they are a bright future for Malaysian theatre,” said Mazhar.

Mazhar, whose earlier acting credits include “Dreamgirls” and “Tun Mahathir: The Musical” added that he was happy to land a role in “Upin and Ipin The Musical”, as he had missed the first round of auditions, but managed to land his role in a second round, just before rehearsals began late last year.

Joshry Adamme Rizq Arish Khairul Fazril, 11 and Muhamad Faritz Danial Roshaimi, 12 who alternate the roles of Upin and Ipin respectively with another pair of boys, say they have never acted in a musical, although Joshry has had some film experience.

“Some of the scenes were really challenging, such as one where there’s a group of spiders. There’s a lot of action, jumping and dancing, and the choreographer had us practice those scenes a number of times to get it right,” said Muhamad Faritz.

While Joshry and Muhamad Faritz are nervously looking forward to their premiere performance, the boys also lament their baldness. In keeping with their characters’ appearances, the four actors playing the twins had their heads shaved, with a false solitary lock of hair attached to the scalps of the actors playing Upin.

“At least it saves me some shampoo in the meantime,” said Joshry Adamme.

“Upin and Ipin The Musical” will be running at the Istana Budaya from April 14 to May 6, with tickets ranging from RM33 to RM453. For further information, please contact 03-6186 6592/ 017-871 660/ 012-297 7220 or visit www.upinipinmusical.blogspot.com.

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