Monday, February 28, 2011

Terima Kasih Cinta @ Istana Budaya

"cinta, tegarkan hatiku

tak mau sesuatu merenggut engkau

naluriku berkata, tak ingin terulang lagi

kehilangan cinta, hati bagai raga tak bernyawa"

Cinta. Love.

L-O-V-E. That four-letter word that makes the world go round.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to catch the preview of Terima Kasih Cinta (TKC) at Istana Budaya. TKC is basically a musical adaptation of the 2006 movie CINTA by Khabir Bhatia, portraying five perspectives of love; with different facets, relationships and backgrounds. We have :-

  • the married couple whose veneer of perfect marriage are shattered by their flaws
  • the brother and sister who are at odds over their respective life choices
  • the rich magnate and the bookstore help with the wide chasm of their socio-stand in way of love
  • the carefree girl with a weighty baggage and the dorky nice guy who's fallen for her
  • the forgetful gentleman lost in his past and the sympathetic lady who found a place in her heart for him.

As I've watched the movie version (and enjoyed it SO much!), there's no escaping the comparisons and expectations. Ya la, I'm only human kan. Since it's been quite some time, frankly I've forgotten some parts of the movie and thus was still able to relish in the more minute details of the whole story, as well as excitement/happiness/relief/wonder/sorrow of finding out what-happens-next in some of the scenes.

Anyways, as a musical theatre of its own, TKC has its strong points especially technically (crafty set, amazingly creative use of lights to intersperse several scenes at one go, cool change of props, beautiful play of colors, a very enjoyable song repertoire) - but where it really counts as a theatre performance, I find it just so-so. The main cast featuring a mix of well-known names and newcomers gave a mixed performance while honestly none of the couples really shone prominently above the others. Chemistry between them feels mostly a tad unnatural, forced even sometimes. Moments of raw emotions that I expected were few and far in between. I also found the narrating by supporting cast during certain scenes a bit irritating and unnecessary - I feel those 'nuggets' of information could've been weaved into the storytelling without having to resort to the somewhat childish and tacky 'announcements'.

Perhaps CINTA is just not meant to be made into a musical theatre. For me, theatre performances are supposed to sway you in the flow of the moment, from one scene to the next, building momentum until the climax and either end with a bang or..NO, theatre should ALWAYS end with a bang and leave one going, WOW. wow. oh. wow. oh.

Having five separate storylines means that there are FIVE different endings which proves to be a hindrance to the solid wow factor, which i suspect is the main reason the fulfillment fails as the audience will get a bit of each story, pause, next story, pause, next, pause, rinse and repeat. Although in the movie version the formula works fine, on stage this time it goes down a different way.

Perhaps my expectations were just too high.

Of the 10 main cast, I found Toni Eusoff (Harris) and Deja Moss (Dian) to be the most convincing, while the most not-believable (as in aisey macam fake sungguh) would have to be Aryana-Taufik (Nadia Aqilah & Vince Chong). The rest falls somewhere in between. Also watch out for members of the supporting cast, where there are a few attention-stealers and colorful characters that are sure to amuse.

What I would like to see in local theatre productions at Istana Budaya, of which lately seem to be invaded by the musical la-di-da bug ever since Puteri Gunung Ledang was such a hit, are theatre performances where people actually deliver their lines out loud while acting in characters that do not need to break into a song or dance at every 10-minutes interval. The kind that will make me leave my seat deep in my thoughts of what I've just seen or swayed by emotions from a solid wow-bang ending, where when the curtain call comes I'd feel that a standing ovation is aptly deserved, rather than because the audience were only being polite in some cases. Yes, Malaysians can be polite that way.

Ah well, I'm digressing.

Terima Kasih Cinta runs until 6th March 2011.

For tickets and more info, go to

On Twitter at ; and tag as #terimakasihcinta