musical

Beyond the Barricade – Beyond my tolerance level

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It was a really unfortunate experience, since both of us have always been musical fans. We have watched quite a few of the most popular musicals in the world when they came to our shore. Therefore, we hit the theatre on that Friday night, hoping to have a good night, but we had to leave with huge disappointment instead.

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The first warning sign was that there was no sale of booklet, or distribution of program outline, and the theatre store was closed. Is it so small scale that there was no merchandise to sell, no program photo to showcase and no song list to follow? Or is it because that was the first night, so everything was still being touched up and not ready yet? If that is the case, then it’s really bad planning. I remember the Lea Salonga show we went sometime ago, it was even shorter, but at least everything was ready when we arrived.

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The second thing that hit us was the fact that the theatre was less than half full. That is not something we often saw in MBS Theatre, especially when there was a good show in town. There must be something that kept them from coming, since there is not much choice of quality shows in Singapore. Or maybe it’s Friday? Ok, better sit down and relax first, and not to be worried so soon. (In fact, my panic started creeping in already!!!!)

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The next problem was that there seemed to be no orchestra, and no backdrop at all. How can they sing musicals without an orchestra to back them up? And how come even no picture to display something in the background? Really, something is not right (Panic really kicking in already!!!)

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When the show started with the songs in Miss Saigon, the problem really surfaced in its fullest dimension. The musical instruments were more suitable for a pop concert than a musical performance. There was not enough depth, and the sound of the electrical keyboard was really annoying. Couldn’t they even afford a piano instead? And there seemed to be something wrong, either with their voices or the mixer or the mic, since the vocals were totally out of line with the music, and even did not mix well with each other.

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The group performance was a mess, more like quarrelling than singing to me. Plus, their choice of songs to cover as a group was questionable. Maybe they wanted to create a niche, but did that really stop them from choosing all the most popular songs in the musicals that they touched on? Masquerade was never my favourite, and what was Wicked without the famous Defying Gravity?

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As for the individual performances, at least there were some redeeming factors. The two female singers were not too bad. At least, they could carry some tunes by themselves, and individually their deliveries were at least acceptable. But then the male lead was a major let down. He was the director and main vocalist, yet he could barely sing a high note, and he constantly sounded short of breathe. I really could not bear to witness him murdering the mighty Phantom and the big hit Music of the Night. It was a real aching pain, especially when you have grown so fond of the song and the character and listened to different versions of it all.

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The second male vocalist, cum conductor and keyboardist, was actually not too bad. His voice was warm, thick and strong. He could carry a tune and had composure. Unfortunately, before he started singing solo, I already lost my hope. When the Phantom already failed us, what to do with a Raul? And we already looked forward to the break so that we could make our way back and not waste any more time inside that disaster of a show.

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I really cannot understand how they could carry on for so long. They have been running this show for many years with 100+ performances. How can they sustain, or are they just relying on one time audience like us? I looked up their bio, they used to sing in musicals. OMG. Musicals. The leading male as Jan Valjean here and there. What kind of Jean Valjean is that? Cannot believe it.

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Full of doubt and sadness, I checked out the videos in their official websites, and surprisingly, they were not that bad. The stage looked more well care, and the singing quality was much better also. Maybe we were just unfortunate, that on that very night, something went wrong with the technicals, or they had a rough flight or they just landed and not enough rest, or whatever. There is no choice but to move on and hope the next thing we watch there will be much much better or at least we will be much much more luckier if that was really our unlucky day. 😦

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