Sunday, August 1, 2010

REVIEW: Mad About Musicals!

Mad About Musicals! at the Skylark Lounge on July 31 was a well-spent HK$150 and I enjoyed the evening very much. And if given the chance, I would do it again... and again.

Musical numbers are tend to be crafted to express bigger, deeper or just plain "out-of-immediate-context" emotions that regular words in a play can't achieve. Not all musical numbers though translate well in the context of a lounge act. I once witnessed a pair performed A Boy Like That (West Side Story) in a lounge and all I can remember now is that they were crying and screaming at each other.

Meanwhile, Mad About Musicals! chose songs that were just right for a lounge act. There was a good combination of ballads, athems, funny and fun songs. Most importantly, most of the songs did showcase the very varied talents and styles of the performers.

My personal favorite was Sandra Leung Water's Cabaret (Cabaret), I Enjoy Being a Girl (Flower Drum Song) and Some People (Gypsy), which fitted her to a T. Olivier de Molina, with his operatic voice, did worderfully well by choosing songs which were staples of singers like Howard Keel, John Raitt and Alfred Drake. The one song I wished he didn't do though was Anthem (Chess), which sat a bit too high on his voice. Arvin Robles, who also directed the show, performed confidently with his own jazzed up versions of the standards. His Any Dream Will Do (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and The Time Warp (The Rocky Horror Show) had the audience itching to participate.

Sheri Dorfman was wonderfully funny in songs like I Cain't Say No (Oklahoma!) and the "Forbidden Broadwayesque" I Feel Pretty (West Side Story) until she tried singing the ballad Memory (Cats). Michael Sharmon, also the writer of the show, did a beautiful job by providing enough information and perspective on the different songs while also injecting some witty and funny moments. Michael also proved that he has very good comic timing in his performance, but unfortunately, these were not showcased more in his solos. Instead, he opted to sing anthems like I Am What I Am (La Cage Aux Folles) and Stars (Les Miserables), which were a tad heavy for his lyric voice.

Overall, it was a great evening and how I wish that there are more lounge acts that feature songs from musicals.

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