A Dream Come True

The second installment of locally produced musical, Mimpi Artilla performed to an enchanted full-house last weekend. The show told the story of the gutsy and free-spirited Princess Artilla (played by local songstress Ezlynn), daughter of Paduka Bonda, Queen of the kingdom of Mayan (Shanel Shanty James). Paduka intends to marry her daughter off to the dashing Shah Rohan (Akademi Fantasia’s Vince Chong), prince of the kingdom of Rohan, in an effort to fortify the alliance between their kingdoms.

Paduka Bonda (Shanel Shanty James) captivated the audience with laugh-out-loud antics.

Artilla, however, is unimpressed by Shah’s bravado and playboy mannerisms, choosing instead to seek out an enigmatic man who haunts her dreams. This results in an odd-couple romance as Artilla and Shah differ, and experience a change of heart, in the course of getting to know the other. Paduka Bonda, on the other hand, made intervallic appearances captivating the audience with laugh-out-loud antics and witticisms as she convinces her only child to accept the marriage proposal from the hunky prince.

 Inventive and nifty use of graphics and moving pictures were projected on the back wall to elevate the perceived real-estate of the stage.

If the producers of the musical were on a tight budget, it went effortlessly unnoticed. Despite the minimal use of props, the magic and mystical nature of the production shone through flawlessly with the aide of some very fascinating artistic and musical touches. From the use of yoga balls to emulate leaping frogs, Artilla’s visit to a local village shaman who was dressed in reflective clothing enhancing the surrealism of the situation, to a group of violent guerrillas who made their entrance on stage by tumbling and leaping to a rap song; Mimpi Artilla was chock-full with cleverly executed illusions to lend to the viewers’ imagination.

Also commendable was the inventive and nifty use of graphics and moving pictures projected on the back wall to elevate the perceived real-estate of the stage itself as it transformed and transitioned seamlessly from opulent palace grounds to an eerie dark forest and everything else in between, as the scenes changed. Not forgetting the illustrious 38-member ensemble who albeit playing minor roles, quipped in at all the right moments.

Vince and Ezlynn showed off amazing vocal capabilities. 

Still, the true highlight of the show lay in the vocal capabilities of Ezlynn, Vince and Shanel. All three shone throughout the 90-minutes; showing off indisputable talent in vocal projection, tonality and control as they told their tales of love and misadventure while moving about the stage. Backed by a tight group of live musicians led by NYU musical theatre alumnae, composer Onn San, the original score was catchy with a recurring melody bound to latch on like an over eager earworm - evocative and with all the makings of a Disney classic – one that you will be caught humming long after you’ve left the auditorium. Hopefully, the original soundtrack is already a work in progress.

This article was published on September 20, 2014 in the Malay Mail.