Saturday Night Fever The Musical 2015 in KL (and backstage tour with cast!)

Saturday Night Fever KL

I was at the opening night of the Saturday Night Fever The Musical in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Friday night. This is not the original or Revival version, the song list is similar to the 2014 UK Tour Production that premiered in Bath, England with different casting. The main character Tony Manero is played by Brandon Rubendall, who pulled it off perfectly.

Saturday Night Fever Kuala Lumpur

I got to meet him and Carla Guevara-Laforteza at the end of the musical during the backstage tour.

Saturday Night Fever Backstage Pass

Yeah, I was lucky enough to get a media and backstage pass, courtesy of Nuffnang (thanks Jack and Samantha!) and it was an awesome performance by the cast overall. A lot of the cast came from Broadway backgrounds in New York.

This is the second time I’ve seen Saturday Night Fever and during the first, I never heard the word “spic” and was quite surprised to hear it here.

Saturday Night Fever The Musical

That word is considered a racial slur nowadays, along with the n-word (though the latter did not make an appearance due to its offensiveness to every single culture). My theory is that not many Malaysians are familiar with the term – interestingly, the term is missing from Strictly Ballroom The Musical, but IIRC appears in the movie version.

Saturday Night Fever Merchandise

I managed to get an official Saturday Night Fever The Musical fridge magnet for my dear.

Saturday Night Fever 2015

The opening night of Saturday Night Fever The Musical was slightly marred by bad weather – it was flooding in some places and visibility was down to almost zero but it started more or less on time. There were constant interruptions in terms of people who came in but I thought the ushers did a pretty good job in waiting until musical numbers were done before getting the late-comers seated.

I actually didn’t know that we could take photos or I would have brought my dSLR. We were allowed to take photos and videos not exceeding 2 minutes during the first four (4) numbers. I managed to use my better half’s iPhone to do it, my apologies for the quality.

Saturday Night Fever Stage

The seating was perfect too – the tickets we were allocated were VIP tickets so it was right in the middle of the action. Istana Budaya has pretty good acoustics too and I thought the cast did a really good job.

I was impressed by the special effects too – there was a sequence which simulated a train going by right after the death of a character (don’t consider this a spoiler since everyone knows the plot by now) and it did so very realistically with the video screens, strobe effects and the metal scaffolding of the bridge, which we later got to see close up.

Saturday Night Fever Backstage

There is no rape scene in this production though so I thought it was a bit confusing to new viewers for continuity and the end scene isn’t as impactful because of that.

Saturday Night Fever Props

We got to go for a backstage tour after the musical too – it was led by one of the cast members and we got the see the props and set up close.

Here’s a video of the backstage, cast and interesting facts about the production.

Saturday Night Fever Call Board

I loved the backstage tour, I thought I’ll give everyone a glimpse of the magic that goes into a production so here’s your backstage pass!

I got a photo with the lead character of Saturday Night Fever The Musical – Brandon Rubendall (Tony Manero)!

Brandon Rubendall Tony Manero

He was nice and kind enough to do the signature pose with me, which prompted another guy to ask me to re-take a photo with him doing that as well. smirk

Saturday Night Fever Backstage Tour

Saturday Night Fever The Musical runs from 4th – 13th September 2015 in Istana Budaya, KL. You can get your tickets from Milestone Productions by calling 03-9222 8811. Tickets starts from RM 138. I highly recommend it if you like musicals and if you loved the original movie featuring John Travolta.

A whimsical review of Strictly Ballroom The Musical at Sydney Lyric

“A life lived in fear is a life half lived”

strictly ballroom musical

This is the Australian production of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, which is based on the classic 1992 film (you’ll know it if you were born in the early 80’s – it was the one of the most famous Australian films of all time, up there with stuff like Crocodile Dundee). The latest production is fairly new – the global premiere was at Sydney Lyric in April 2014 and we caught it a couple of days ago.

strictly ballroom tickets

I didn’t realize I’ve watched the original movie and knew most of the songs by heart so when it was described to me, I thought it sounded like a the love child of a threesome involving West Side Story, Romeo & Juliet and Dirty Dancing.

strictly ballroom merchandise

I’m a huge fan of musicals, and caught a lot of them during my 2010 backpacking trip through Europe, starting with Wicked in West End. I even watched Les Misérables in French!

I did not understand a single word. Okay, that was a bit of an overstatement, maybe I understood 7 but it’s definitely something you can count with your fingers.

strictly ballroom sydney lyric

To be perfectly honest, I thought I was in for a slightly dry Australian play but I was keen to catch a musical here, especially a local one.

strictly ballroom australia

As I settled in my seat and took in the gorgeous period posters and large disco ball on the ceiling of Sydney Lyric, I started to get into the interactive elements where your section of the theater cheers for a particular ballroom dancing competition couple. I won’t spoil it for you, but don’t worry, it’s nowhere near the over-the-top madness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

strictly ballroom pose

…and then there was the pivotal scene, a familiar snippet of lyric which was done in conversational spoken word, the part where ballroom dancing movements were taught to the Latino main female lead (which arguably is the best scene in the musical)

If you’re lost, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re *lost*, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re lost, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re lost, and you turn, and you WILL find me.
Time after time

The spoken word segued into a beautiful and powerful sotto song from the male lead and I thought to myself “I KNOW THIS SONG!”.

Memories flooded back and I was hooked – all the songs were familiar and I found myself tapping my feet, singing along and wanting to go on the large conga line that formed after the encore with the cast leading members of the public up to the stage.

strictly ballroom stage

It was the best musical I’ve watched in Australia. I wanted to sing, I wanted to tap my feet and I wanted to dance! It made me feel alive and loved every single moment of it!

strictly ballroom props

In that way, Strictly Ballroom lived up to “The story that inspired the world to dance”, at least for me, an a little old lady in her late 60’s, wheelchair bound and breathing oxygen, but clapping her hands happily as the musical went through songs like Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and of course, Time After Time.

strictly ballroom program

I guess if I had one negative thing to say about Strictly Ballroom The Musical, it would be the Coca-Cola advertisements / product placement, which I found to be intrusive and detracts from the entire experience.

…and with that said, let’s move on to:

(let me do the intentional irony smirk first)

smirk

Short mention:

I’m still in New South Wales, having a lot of fun taking photos and videos with my Xperia Z1. I’m staying at Ramada Resort Shoal Bay, which is about 3 hours from Sydney. It’s located in the Port Stephens area and we had a lot of water activities, sandboarding and ATV riding over sand dunes which can be really bad for regular smartphones…

…but not for the waterproof and dust resistant Z1! I did all those activities and just washed my smartphone and it was as good as new! I even took a walkthrough of my wonderful beach facing suite as soon as I got back. Check out the video above, it’s shot in 1080p Full HD. I’m looking forward to the Xperia Z2 coz that has an even higher recording mode – 4K! :)

strictly sydney

I just came back from a night of Vivid Sydney, experiencing lots of interactions, including one that’s inspired by Strictly Ballroom The Musical! It’s called MirrorBall Heart (Installation # 19 – it’s the one with the disco dance floor and a heart with “Strictly Sydney” on it) and it’s just a short walk away from the hotel. Catch up with what I’m doing on my other social media channels:

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

Posted: 8:26 am Sydney time (GMT +2)

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