Wednesday, November 6, 2013

REVIEW: Carrie – The Musical (Manila)

Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium (Manila), Sunday September 29

Wouldn’t a show known for being one of the most expensive disasters in Broadway history becoming a worldwide hit after 25 years since it opened be just fantastic? Unfortunately, there just no such story. This revival of Carrie by Atlantis Productions in Manila was a nice attempt, but it just made me understand why Carrie was a failure. Actually, I think that the production itself was worse than the material. I can’t help but feel that it was a self-indulgent project on the part of the director Bobby Garcia.

Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, the show’s original authors (according to the ad) have “fully reworked and re-imagined” this version of Carrie. Featuring a book by Lawrence D. Cohen, music by Academy Award winner Michael Gore and lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford, the material was actually not bad… but not exactly very good either. I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, but I knew the reputation of the show; thus I went to see it with an ample amount of understanding that I will not be blown away… and yet, it still fell below expectation.

The biggest head-scratching element of the production is this barn-like looking set that interchangeably became the school gym and Carrie’s home… neither of which was convincingly gym nor home. It is funny how some elements in a production are actually so important that when not executed properly, it just makes the suspension of disbelief an impossible task. Imagine a Peter Pan that doesn’t fly or a Cat with no tail. In the case of Carrie, dousing Carrie with pig’s blood was the big moment… the moment that humiliated her and from that humiliation came fury and madness! Well, in this production, we saw the pig’s blood came falling down but it barely touched Carrie; and yet, she was furious enough to lash out and kill everybody. Funny was that Carrie came in totally drenched in pig’s blood in the next scene! One can just hear a bit of a chuckle in the audience.

The performers did their best to make the story come alive. Unfortunately, faced with such a production and material, it was an uphill battle… that ended in an avalanche.

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