7 Malaysian theatre performances to catch in early 2019

'Norm And Ahmed' was first produced in Malaysia by The Actors Studio in 1989, its very first production. It was directed by Joe Hasham, who will return to direct it next month. The show kicks off The Actors Studio's 30th anniversary celebrations. Photo: The Actors Studio

A devised physical theatre story about longing and acceptance. A tale of an ancient Kelantanese princess. Traditional Teochew iron-rod puppets. A Pakistani student, an Australian workman and a whiff of racism.

At a glance, there is no such thing as a slow start for theatre in the Klang Valley .

It looks like the early days of 2019 are already pointing to a promising year ahead for the theatre and performing arts scene.

This month alone, there are several interesting theatre shows that have caught our attention.

It doesn't matter if it is a final year project theatre show or The Actors Studio celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Not to forget that a couple of original scripts from homegrown writers will also be making debuts on stage.

What's important is to see the theatre scene buzzing with a diverse array of productions. Here are the seven shows to watch:


Venue: Black Box, DPac, Petaling Jaya

Date: Jan 18-20

Doomsday, presented by Chinese theatre group The Razors Experimental Theatre, is based on Chinese poet Jia Yi’s often insightful and barbed poems. But do not be fooled. Behind the veil of sarcasm, the poet reveals the dark nuances of our society.

Director Choong Seong Wei and choreographer Pexstreet Liu have taken the text and translated them into an experimental physical theatre piece to show that life is not just dull. Expect the unexpected. More details: www.dpac.com.my.

The Lion And The Jewel

Venue: Black Box, Aswara, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Date: Jan 20

If you fancy checking out newcomers to the theatre scene, then Aswara's Faculty of Theatre final year project production called The Lion And The Jewel might be worth the investigation. The theatrical play, written by Nigerian playwright/poet Wole Soyinka, will be translated into Malay by Dr Roselina Khir Johari. It is a satirical comedy with music, dance and songs that explore the conflict between traditional values and modern life. The show's cast include Syafiq Aiman, Aizzat Fiqrie, Azrul Amri and Eira Raduan. Contact: 018-983 0060.

The Penang Teochew Puppet and Opera House will present the Teochew Iron-Rod Puppet shows at The Play Haus venue in KL. Photo: ST

Teochew Iron-Rod Puppet

Venue: Play Haus, Pearl Shopping Gallery, Jalan Klang Lama, KL

Date: Jan 19-20

The Penang Teochew Puppet and Opera House is back in KL for a show series filled with magical adventure and iron-rod puppets. It will present three puppet shows based on Chinese classics. Opening the series on Jan 19 is Journey To The West: Gossamer Cave which tells the tale of the disciples of Buddhist monk Tripitaka as they strive to prevent their master from falling into the clutches of the nefarious spider queen, who intends to feast on the monk’s flesh to obtain immortality. Catch two more fascinating tales Duet Across The Stream and The Woodshed on Jan 20. These shows are part of the Ripples of The Spring series at The Play Haus. FB: The Play Haus.

Sabera plays the headstrong, independent spirit role in Puteri Saadong. Photo: Filepic

Puteri Saadong

Venue: Studio Ramli Hassan, Bukit Tunku, KL

Date: Jan 19

Masakini Theatre, led by Sabera Shaik, is synonymous with innovative and unconventional theatre. This weekend it presents a restaging of Puteri Saadong at the Studio Ramli Hassan space in Kuala Lumpur. Patrons can look forward to an exclusive sit-down dinner followed by an after-dinner theatre performance. Puteri Saadong tells the story about a 15th century Kelantanese queen complete with mak yong incantations and the haunting melodies of the rebab. Puteri Saadong is performed by Sabera with original music by multi-instrumentalists Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin and Susan Sarah John. The show is directed by Teater Laboratorium (Denmark) director Tage Larsen.Larsen. More details: www.masakinitheatre.com.

Forget Me Not

Venue: Lot’ng Arts Space, USJ Taipan, Subang Jaya, Selangor

Date: Jan 23-Feb 3

They say good stories come from true stories. If that adage is anything to go by, then Anomalist Production’s Forget Me Not is something to look out for. Forget Me Not is written by Aishah Mohamad

and directed by Azmi Hud. It is based on a former sex-worker-turned-social-worker's real life story. It revolves around Shila who finally gets pregnant after three years of marriage. But complications arise when her husband Zul finally reveals to her about his past life. She has to make a crucial decision on the fate of the baby. The question is how much would a mother sacrifice for the sake of her child? The cast features Aifa Amalina, Nabil Musawir, Maza Maamor, Tharwa Karina and Adiilah Radzak. FB: Anomalist Production.


Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac

Date: Jan 24-27

Following her sold out production of OCD last year, young director Ho Lee Ching is back with a new theatre piece called In/Out. The show

explores what it feels like to be included and excluded just for being the person you areThe cast line-up includes Claudia Low, Afham Zainal, Nabilah Hamid and Riena Aisya, Chloe Tan and Sharm Noh (both performers with circus show Psycusix), dancer SueKi Yee, former national gymnast Joey Cheong and Zhafir Muzani, a resident dancer at KLPac. More details: www.klpac.org.

Norm And Ahmed

Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac

Date: Feb 12-17

The Actors Studio (TAS) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Time to prepare yourself for a busy programme of new works and restagings of some of TAS’s most successful shows. Norm And Ahmed by Australian playwright Alex Buzo has the privilege of kicking things off for the TAS 30 celebrations. This was TAS’s very first production ever in 1989. Joe Hasham returns as the director in this insightful play about racism and a midnight conversation between a Pakistani student and a cliche-familiar Australian workman. Norm will be played by Australian actor Kingsley Judd and Ahmed will be played by Phraveen Arikiah. More details: www.klpac.org.


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