LakiBini 2.0 Review

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I seldom watch theatre plays. I think if I can measure the rate I watch theatre shows, I can safely say that it is perhaps a once-a-year thingy for me. In fact I did not have any plans whatsoever to post a review on this show that I attended on 3rd October 2014 at the Black Box Studio of Goodman Arts Centre. Longtime readers of this blog would note how uncomfortable I am at doing reviews of this nature and that I am perhaps the worst at reviewing theatre plays for the fact that I do not have any acting or theatre background to begin with. At least when I review music performances, shows or concerts, I have an inkling of what I am typing about as I have some experience being a keen observer, stagehand, volunteer and even a performer at some point in my life. This entry is published since I was kindly approached by the director and playwright himself, Izad Omar, to do one as there was not much post-show publicity nor reviews other than the one that was published on Berita Harian a fortnight ago.

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I heard about this show, produced by local theatre company KreatiV OutBox, back in April 2014 when I was covering the TeRaSeh 2.0 competition, during the week that Den Sabari, one of the show’s main casts, and his wife Huda Ali were the studio guests at Warna 94.2FM during the post-show interview with the “Malam 2 Mat” hosts, Hafeez Glamour and Dyn Norahim. Since I count Den as one of my good friends, I made the effort to block the dates of the play six months in advance so I could catch it when the time comes. Den admitted during the months leading up to the show, how excited, yet nervous he was at the thought of making his theatre comeback after more than five years away from the live stage. A lot of effort, practices and rehearsals were done just to get things right and there were times Den had to sacrifice his social time to play football with our Seniman FC team just for this play.

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For a first-timer on a live stage, I thought Ainon Talib did extremely well juggling the different emotions that her character had to exude and display. One moment she was laughing and cracking jokes, the next she was angry and subsequently shedding tears. I have so much respect for performers who could switch emotions with a snap of the fingers and Ainon‘s character, Ira, demanded her to do just that. I strongly believe this experience would empower her and improve on her acting on television, though of course there is always room for improvement on stage. Den Sabari, who played Zali on the other hand, had a bit of nervousness in him, but I kind of attributed it to pressure knowing a few of his close friends were seated in the audience. And of course, there is that issue of rustiness of not performing a stage play in years, but personally I felt it wasn’t that glaring to the common folk like myself. Maybe theatre experts who caught the play could relate better.

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However, the star of the show to me had to be Fariz Najed who played the effeminate BFF to Ainon‘s character. I felt his role, even though it was a supporting one, was the most crucial and important, in that he helped to link and added balance to the two main casts, the glue that held everything together. He was so likeable as the angsty best friend who not only found himself ostracised by his own family but also always at odds with the character played by Den Sabari himself. In a way, his role demanded the audience to understand from his perspective. His role and problems faced are common amongst men who are considered soft or effeminate, as they are often looked down by the community and seek acceptance for who they are. Fariz aced his role and gave us plenty of food for thought with his acting delivery.

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As a normal-paying audience, not too concerned with technicalities of theatre play, I was there to be entertained. What I got from that 90-minutes show was not just mere entertainment, I left the Black Box Studio with a gamut of emotions from what I had witnessed throughout the play. The show highlighted common problems faced by many married couples, the real dilemmas faced as a young couple right down to their ageing years. What I like most about the play was, it was done in a light-hearted manner, without being too deep with the issues being discussed and some of the issues raised strike a chord with what we sometimes face in the course of our marriage. There were also several digs being made towards social / cultural practices which might contradict our Islamic beliefs without being too direct nor overly critical. For theatre novices like myself, this was an enjoyable play and I certainly did not feel the time passing by. The downside and only complaint I might have is how cold the venue was, even after two of the air-con units had been turned off, from what I understand from Izad himself. Other than that it was a very good production by KreatiV OutBox. Kudos!!!

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(All photographs courtesy of KreatiV OutBox)

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Episode 9 Recap…

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The contestants might have felt uncomfortable performing the Boria during the earlier weeks but they seem to enjoy it as the weeks progress…

It has been a week since Episode 9 of Te:RaSeh! 2.0 was aired, but the high entertainment and humour aspects of that particular episode are still fresh in my head. I think it just edged the seventh episode as the most entertaining of the series thus far. The theme for the night (Horror), ensured that whatever costumes or make-up the contestants put on, were sure to tickle our fancy and scared those with faint hearts. Put in each contestant and how they immersed themselves in their respective characters, it was a laugh-a-minute fest that had people like me and my kids watching the re-runs and still laughing at the jokes days after. I personally feel that Fauzie Laily deserved the Celebrity-of-the-Match award as he was in character (dead World War II Japanese soldier) throughout from start till the cameras stopped rolling, and all the way, even after the show had ended.

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A. B. Shaik doing his best Michael JacksonThriller impersonation in front of his amused colleagues Khairudin Samsudin and Dalina Jaapar

I will not begrudge Azlin Ali as she too was also a deserving winner in her role as Makcik Keropok, when she appeared onstage at the start of the show munching on the Papadam in her hand and sharing it with the rest. When Danial Ashriq (Chucky) did his somersault from the stage during the Final Face-Off (Te:Ra! HabisBoria), Azlin responded in kind by jumping off the stage and treating the already-bewildered audience with her own dance moves. I thought there and then that she was to be anointed the Celebrity-of-the-Match for tickling our bones with her antics, and I was not wrong at the end of the show. For the record, Azlin joins Suzairhe Sumari as the only two celebrities who have won the award twice throughout this season’s competition. No mean feat, but it is also testimony to how good they were in their respective roles and characters given to them by the producers of the show.

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The Mats, always game for a fun shot like this…

It was also a good show as it put everyone at the edge of their seats and willing each team on to win. It was nervy, not only for the contestants but to the watching audience in the Mediacorp TV Theatre, as well as those at home. I felt that the fight between both teams were so close, anyone could have won it. Going towards the Final Face-Off (Te:Ra! Habis – Boria), both teams were separated by just ten points, with the Mats leading by that slender margin. In terms of showmanship, prose and creativity in delivering their lyrics, I felt the Mats edged the Minahs slightly, but with a guest judge who openly showed her support to the Minahs right from the first quarter of the show, I felt it was a losing battle for the Mats no matter how hard they tried and how good they were. I would like to believe that the show of support was deliberately done to shake the confidence of the Mat and dealt them a psychological blow, but no matter how I look at it, it’s not good viewing even for a show of this fun nature.

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The Minahs showing who was the number one last Tuesday

No, I am not saying the guys deserved to edge that last segment just because I’m a guy, but I think if we were to throw aside the bias and be more rational, we’ll agree that the guys showed better creativity when delivering their lyrics. Even some of the Minahs I spoke to post-show, agreed that the guys did slightly better. This is where I hope the Grand Finals tomorrow will be a fair affair. We already have two resident judges who represent each gender and can get away with the bias, though to their credit they have not been showing it so blatantly these past nine weeks. It’s the guest judges who hold the wild and trump cards. We could do without a repeat of last year’s mini-controversy whereby some of the guest judges showed whose side they were on. A judge has to be impartial afterall, even if this is a fun competition to begin with. One can show their quiet / gleeful support for their favourite teams via their votes during the Face-Offs, but not through openly-blatant display for the whole world to know. It somehow kills the spirit of competition and demoralises the other team, resulting in quiet discontent.

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Not surprised with the voting, with the Minahs clinching the overall win…

Though I am a bit disappointed with that particular aspect, I am still pleased to see the Minahs closing the gap as I had earlier predicted. Going into the Grand Finals tomorrow, from what I understand, the winner will win double the points, which means if the Minahs were to win, they would eventually leapfrog the Mats and end up being the dominant gender, not to mention the overall winner. As the score stands, the Mats are leading 5:4. With so much at stake for tomorrow’s Grand Finals, we’re going to see all the contestants giving their all in the special two-hour show. It’s gonna be another heart-stopping affair with the line-up ensuring there will be a good mix of contestants with differing abilities, capabilities and personalities. The Minahs will be represented by Nurul Aini, Huda Ali, Syirah Jusni, Azlin Ali and Nurfarhana M Noor. The Mats will have Suzairhe Sumari, Fauzie Laily, Fadhlur Rahman, Danial Ashriq and Hafeez Glamour fighting in their corner.

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Post-show interview with the Malam 2 Mat hosts Hafeez Glamour and Dyn Norahim. Azlin Ali stayed for the first ten minutes before going off as she had her daily morning show and needed to rest for the night. Nurul Aini and Danial Ashriq stayed throughout…

Before I end my entry, I would just like to commend Wawan Husen from Auraz Band for being the best Celebrity DJ throughout the nine weeks, at least from my personal standpoint. He did so much better and was so fluent as compared to some others who looked a little lost and unfocused, which resulted in some of the contestants and audience wincing and lamenting afterwards about points lost during the Q&A segment. For his reward, I believe Wawan will be back for another round tomorrow. Another three that did well so far and caught my eyes were Ashmi Roslan, Ryan Sufiyan and Shikin Imran. Not too sure though how many will be allowed in the radio conty tomorrow. But what is more important is that, I am hoping for a clean, fun, entertaining and fair fight from all contestants as they not only entertain us with their antics, but also channelling all their efforts for a good cause, winning points and monetary proceeds for their respective charity beneficiaries. I wish all the contestants all the best and play safe!!!

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Episode 8 Recap…

TeRaSeh 2014 Episode 8 2014-05-27 2109Huda Ali got the better of Den Sabari this time round…

Episode 8 of Te:RaSeh! 2.0 last Tuesday (27 May 2014) served up a rare sight not seen in the previous seven episodes – a proper spanking for the Mats and a stunning win for the Minahs in all segments. Something had to give and the Minahs truly rose to the occasion to close the yawning gap that threatened to make this competition a cakewalk for the Mats. Whether the guys deliberately played the role of chivalrous gentlemen and gave the win to the ladies on a silver platter or the ladies found a fighting spirit from within, we will continue to debate for weeks to come, but the fact remains, a win for the Minahs was just the tonic for them to lift their flailing spirits and build on the momentum for the upcoming episode happening tonight.

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Judges Sheikh Haikel, Rilla Melati and Mr. Hassan Salleh were in no doubt who ruled the roost that night…

For the very first time in the competition, the Minahs aced through all the segments and the final scoreline was simply unthinkable, a landslide of sorts, the kind of spankings that they were used to receiving between Episodes 2 to 5 from the Mats. How nice and satisfactory it was that they finally managed to buck the trend and dish some of their own medicine back. The Minahs were also on the charm offensive right from the start with different team chants targeting each individual judge. Though I would give full marks for creativity, the execution and synergy during the delivery could have been done a bit better. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the guys getting walloped for once, even though I did detect that they were being generous by playing it cool.

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The hosts, Khairudin Samsudin, Dalina Jaapar and A. B. Shaik, in costumes depicting the theme for the night – World Culture

It was also nice to see Huda Ali finally get one back against hubby Den Sabari during the Final Face-Off (Dikir Barat). All those practices in private with Den, prior to the show, paid off big time for Huda. It also helped that Den was too immersed in his character to the point he was inaudible. The choice of anointing Izyan Mellyna as the Celebrity-of-the-Match was a long time coming in my opinion, as I felt that she should have been awarded that title in the very first episode when she did an extremely good impression of Diana Ross. A rising star in our local Malay entertainment industry, Izyan is set to make waves, starring in her first movie, “Banting“, which would be released this coming August 2014. A former child star having appeared in kiddy shows like “Ya Alif“, she is also a mean stage singer. Just type her name in YouTube, and you will see some of her performances as she belts out crisply like a professional singer.

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Izyan Mellyna, Huda Ali and Den Sabari had a great time at Warna 94.2FM‘s conty with Malam 2 Mat hosts, Dyn Norahim and Hafeez Glamour.

With all due respect to the Mats, I think tonight will be another episode where the Minahs will close the gap and make it 5-4 on aggregate, leading up to the Grand Finals next Tuesday (10 June 2014). I base my predictions against the line-up tonight and their performances in the previous episodes. The Minahs on paper look a bit stronger to contend with. In their corner tonight will be the one who leads by example – Nurul Aini, the one with the most determination and willpower in her – Azlin Ali, and the fiesty and gregarious Nurfarhana M Noor. For the Mats, we will see Fauzie Laily, Danial Ashriq and Fadhlur Rahman carrying their hopes. The Mats need to kick the show off in style by gaining the upper hand in the first segment (Fuhhh Te:Ra!). From there, they need to build on the momentum for the Q&A segment (Te:Ra Kapa?) and pick the right lyrics for the Final Face-Off (Te:Ra! HabisBoria). Can they do it and prevent the ladies from winning again for the second week in a row??? We’ll get the answers tonight at 8:30pm, only on Mediacorp Suria.

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Prelude @ SG Expo

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2014 seems like a boring year in this domain of mine. I know cos this is only the third entry I am doing so far. I could have done more entries like covering celebrity weddings that happened last month, but I was overseas due to work commitments, which meant I had to miss the weddings of Didicazli & Eliyana as well as “Step Puteri‘s” Ateeqah Mazlan & Effendie (DJ Effen). Congratulations to all of them including bro Hady Mirza & Nur Jannah, SG‘s Siti Nurhaliza lookalike winner Mahirah Yasin & Herdeno as well as Anugerah Skrin 2010 alumnus Mariah Mahfar & Isbahi who have all tied the knot within the last month or so. 2014 is indeed a year filled with celebrity weddings in our local Malay entertainment scene. And it’s still only March. More to follow in the months ahead…

TeRaSeh 2014 @ SG Expo 2014-03-22 004The guys (from left): Warna 94.2FM‘s Tahar Ghalib (TG), Suzairhe Sumari, Hyrul Anuar, Danial Ashriq, Fadhlur Rahman, Hasif Nasir, Taufik Salleh, Khairudin Samsudin and Fauzie Laily. RIA 89.7FM‘s Dzar Ismail was getting ready when this shot was taken…

This past Saturday 22 March 2014, in conjunction with the Halal Food, Weddings & Lifestyle Exhibition organised by Mega Express Pte. Ltd., a segment that was a crowd puller happened to be the prelude event to the upcoming TeRaSeh programme which will make its return come 8 April 2014 on Mediacorp Suria. For those who had been watching or following the first edition last year, you will know that it is a highly entertaining programme with all the crazy and spontaneous antics by all the participants and the hosts. The programme is also an educational one as viewers would also learn general knowledge, culture and and history of the local entertainment scene as well as our country through the questions asked. I did not cover a single episode last year as I was tied down with reservist and family commitments, but I do hope I can cover on a weekly basis this time round, which will be known as TeRaSeh 2.0.

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Which was why I attended the event last Saturday to get a feel of what this year’s list of participants from the radio and television fraternity have in store for us. For one, they gave a glimpse of what might transpire in the upcoming episodes with a Boria performance for the audience at the start and end of the show. Last year, there was a spontaneous Dikir Barat performance at the end of every episode of TeRaSeh. Perhaps this year, they will inject the Boria element just to spice things up further. For one, the participants had to undergo an intensive training prior to the show just to learn the coordinated dance steps and lyrics to the song they were performing. Kudos to all the artistes involved last Saturday for learning within a few hours before having to perform them live for the watching audience.

TeRaSeh 2014 @ SG Expo 2014-03-22 003The fantastic Sri Warisan performers who accompanied and trained the artistes for the Boria segment…

Playing games with the audience, maybe we’ll get to see more of the same this year. We’ll just have to wait for the first episode to air, but one thing’s for sure, this will not be a Radio vs. Television affair like last year. The rules have been changed and it will be the radio and television fraternity combining and duking it out between the two genders. Based on what happened last Saturday, you are guaranteed to have a rolling good time and definitely will get sore facial muscles due to too much laughing at the antics of all the participants and hosts. It is also good that the show will see several new faces who will add on to the entertainment and eye candy factors. For the record, TeRaSeh 2.0 will be hosted by Khairudin Samsudin and AB Shaik