Sunday, November 18, 2007


as i is the review on p.ramlee the musical. but the review is taken from my sister's blog as i'm quite buzy lately..well, she covers everything i wanna say as we did discuss it in the car on our way back home from the play..hope it's fine with all of you.

I think the people behind EnfiniTi memang genius, really really talented people and I try to be objective with this la. I expected P. Ramlee to be, if not better, at least equally as good. But the thing about P. Ramlee The Musical (which shall now henceforth be identified as PRTM for easy typing), it fluctuates a lot. Like there’s one thing yang sangat bagus, but in another area, something else slack pulak.

I’ll go through the cast first.

I don’t think anyone can play P. Ramlee but Sean Ghazi. He’s brill, he is. His talent is undeniable. Plus, Liza Hanim is really comfortable in her role as Saloma. She effortlessly speaks, walks, talks, and SINGS just like Saloma.

And then there’s Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza as Azizah, P. Ramlee’s childhood sweetheart. According to Kill, who read the legend’s biography, nobody really knows who Azizah was and how she looks like for sure except for P. Ramlee himself. Putting aside whatever prejudice or biasness I may have for her whether in the past or in the present -- it is suffice to say that I have differing views on her when she first started in the industry to the peak that she is at now -- I have to say that Siti did not leave any impact on me with her performance. I repeat, DID NOT leave any impression. Sure, she can sing. Her voice is distinctively hers. Her vocal range, excellent. Her acting chops, that’s another matter. Her presence, didn’t work its magic on me.

I felt that, even without her as Azizah, say that you put another person to fill in the role, it would’ve been okay, because there really isn’t anything much about her performance. She didn’t give a mind-blowing show or anything, she was just… too Siti?

Perhaps the character suits her to a T because Azizah is this demure, distinguished anak orang kaya in the village who became Ramlee’s first love and muse and Siti in real life is known for her sopan-ness.

Then there’s Atilia who was Junaidah, Ramlee’s first wife. She was okay la, she can sing but she didn’t leave a mark also.

But Melissa Saila as Norizan, the second wife after Junaidah, my oh my. There are two sides of the coin when it comes to Melissa Saila and both are of the same magnitude. She has excellent acting skills and a terrible singing voice!

Interestingly, Melissa’s mother, the veteran Mariani, is Saloma’s sister, and given that Ramlee married Saloma later, Melissa is acting in a tribute play about her own uncle.

Her character, Norizan, the ex-consort of the Sultan who left everything behind to pursue her love for P. Ramlee, came out just minutes before the intermission. Her body language, her intonation was super, super excellent. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. However, the play didn’t elaborate on how Norizan got acquainted with Ramlee, most prolly for diplomatic reasons because she was an ex-consort of a king. But I just don’t understand why they have to give such a difficult song for her to sing since her singing capability is limited. The song was during her fight with Ramlee and to portray her anger, the song was in such a high note that she simply couldn’t reach it. Poor thing, really, because her acting was amazing. My mother also told me that physically, Melissa isn’t perfect to play Norizan because Norizan was of a bigger built, similar to Liza Hanim’s physique. Melissa’s petite size was actually more similar to her real-life aunt, Saloma, but Melissa really pulled it through playing Norizan, except for the singing. My favorite line of her was when the paparazzi were all camping outside the house to take pictures of her after Ramlee divorced her, she walked with such gusto and whatever pride and anger that she has left, and yelled “Get out of my way!!”

That was the main cast. The dancers are mainly the same people from PGLM, can actually recognize their faces ^_^

For the play itself, the opening montage was brill. There was a montage, and I think it is pretty uncommon to have a montage in a stage play right? Some of the scenes were a bit of a drag, I actually felt bored at certain scenes. Choreography, by the amazing Pat Ibrahim, was good enough for the musical, but I like his choreography in PGLM better.

And I couldn’t remember the songs in the musical apart from P. Ramlee originals like Getaran Jiwa, Gelora and Azizah. Unlike PGLM, I could actually remember the choruses after I left the hall! My sister remarked that she remembered wanting to buy the PGLM soundtrack because she fell in love with the songs after watching the play, and PRTM didn’t have the same effect.

Despite the flaws, there were some highlights of the musical. For one, the play was really funny! Imagine P. Ramlee and his antics, especially when he is trying to court Saloma in his movies. This was replicated brilliantly in the play, and to this I think Adlin Aman Ramlie did a great job as the writer.

The set was magnificent, as expected of EnfiniTi, with the props gliding from one corner to the other. If you are going to watch the play, look out for the train with the license plate, TJ 1010. That is actually Tiara Jacquelina’s in real life. So a little trivia there. And I also love the scene where they pay homage to Puteri Gunung Ledang. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean.

The good thing about the cast is, the chemistry between P. Ramlee and Saloma, was great, and like I mentioned before, the courting scene was one to watch.

To sum it up, I am a little disappointed to say that PRTM did not leave that glint in my eye and flutter in my heart like how I felt when I saw PGLM. But hey, you should catch the play, by all means, see it for yourself and see how our local theatre has grown so much.

There were a lot of celebrities in Istana Budaya on that opening night, it was a blast from the past to see veterans like Dato’ Aziz Sattar, Ruminah Sidek and Mariani present among the crowd. These are the people who knew P. Ramlee personally, and I think the play must have been sentimental for them.

I didn’t take much picture, because I had to use the family’s first generation Lumix. Yeah, like 2.0 megapix, really terrible flash -_- Boyfriend loaned the Nikon he let me used before to his friend and that friend took it back to Sabah and I still haven’t seen the light of the day of the precious camera. Note to self, must save up for a new digicam. Hilang photo-op I without camera tau!

The musical ended at 12:45am. By that time, I was already craving for a cheeseburger, lapar gila, so we head to McD’s drive-thru in Ampang, analyzing and commenting about the play we just saw.

“Aku tetiba terbayang Sean Ghazi morphs into Stephen-Rahman masa scene yang akhir tu weh, singing “MENGAPA AKU MASIH, DIDUGA DAN TERUS DIPERUJI…”

I told you I remember most of the choruses from PGLM. It was that good.

Kakak just laughed.

“Ha’ah kan. Lagu-lagu PGLM lagi best. Can u imagine, we left IB watching P. Ramlee The Musical. What songs are we singing now in the car? PGL jugak!”


Sigh. Sophomore slump can happen to anyone, even the great geniuses of EnfiniTi. It wasn’t exactly a failure, but for those who watched both plays, they can see the difference I’m talking about. Or it could be the fact that it was the opening night, the play might just work its magic once its up and running on subsequent nights.

The songs in PGLM were just magical. I honestly think so. I’m actually listening to PGLM’s soundtrack while writing this.

PGLM is definitely a tough act to follow.

*will update on the photos soon


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