Youths stage musical on KL heritage


  • Metro News
  • Friday, 14 Dec 2018

The excited cast of ‘Mud the Musical’ striking a group pose after a rehearsal. — Photos: LOW LAY PHON/The Star

THE young talents of Mud the Musical are all raring to put on a good show when it goes onstage from Dec 14 to 22 at The Platform, Menara Ken TTDI, Kuala Lumpur.

Enfiniti Academy’s annual Youth on Stage musical production features 24 new cast members aged from nine to their early 30s who will be offering their take on the earlier musical that entered the Malaysia Book of Records as the longest-running show in Malaysia.

“We felt Mud the Musical would be a perfect model for the Youth on Stage production, as it offered a good opportunity to teach heritage and history in a modern context,” said musical director Joanna Bessey.

“The production, which took about five months to put together, even got the children interested in Kuala Lumpur’s history and their heritage, with some finding similar stories within their own families.”

Previously staged at Panggung Bandaraya in Kuala Lumpur for three years, Mud the Musical tells the story of Kuala Lumpur’s origins, including the great fire and flood that happened in 1881.

“The story of how Kuala Lumpur began is told from the point of three young friends – Mamat, Meng and Muthiah. It is set in olden times but uses a modern musical format with an LED screen for backdrop,” said Bessey.

“The new show has some new characters, more dialogue and new interactive elements with audience participation.

“The new show will run for 75 minutes, but is designed to be educational in an exciting way and will appeal to people young and old.”

Bessey added that some of the original cast members and production crew are back to mentor the young talents.

She said performing a live musical show does not only involve singing, dancing and acting, but also requires the person to be emotionally ready to perform to a large crowd.

“We only cast those who were truly ready for such performances, as they must love being onstage, interacting with audiences and being part of a theatre ensemble,” she said.

“It takes a lot of self-discipline to perform in front of a live audience, as there is no room for mistakes or redos. Students also learn about punctuality, teamwork and leadership skills.”

Wafiy Irfan Ariffen Kamal Ariffen, who will be playing Mamat, a lead character said he gained plenty of insight and experience from the show, such as learning the right techniques to sing without losing his voice from doing back to back shows.

“Our personalities are very different, as Mamat is a nice, smart and heroic guy whereas I’m more naughty and playful,” said the 13-year-old who has been involved in theatre since he was five.

Adellia Puteri Taufik plays Teja

– another lead character who is Mamat’s wife.

“I have several solo numbers in this musical. Everything was initially difficult, as this is my first lead character after a minor role in Ola Bola The Musical.

“Constant practice made things easier and there is always room for improvement,” said the 14-year-old, adding that getting pointers from Bessey and the show’s mentors also helped.

For Adellia Puteri, the hardest song to sing is “Musnah” (Destroyed), as she has to ensure the right words and emotions are conveyed.

As a newcomer to performing arts, Lauren Anna Miller said it was really interesting to see how the cast and crew worked professionally to put on a show.

“I play the role of Sir Frank Swettenham (the first British High Commissioner of Malaya). It was awkward yet fun for me as a girl to play the role of a guy,” said the 12-year-old.

For Jacob Hii, being in a musical production where most of the cast members are younger than him has required a lot of patience, yet it offered a rewarding experience.

“The cast are all very talented and I’m happy to work with them,” said the 24-year-old who plays Tauke Lim, a key connector for the Chinese community.

Bessey added, “It’s a family-friendly show ideal for the holiday season. It tells a story of how we as a community are very much connected to each other, in our sense of brotherhood and camaraderie.

“If you are Malaysian or love Malaysia, you will love the show,” she said.For showtimes and ticket purchases, visit enfinitiacademy.com/mud/

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