Photo by Karen Zhao on Unsplash

Tara’s 2019 Mid-Year Theatre Round-Up

Theatre

Most of the people who know me know I’m a sucker for a good theatre production. Thing is, I kind of suck at writing reviews lately, that most of my thoughts about the shows I’ve seen this year were only confined to Instagram posts. And since we’ve reached the halfway mark of 2019 (ALREADY?!?), I’ve decided to do a mid-year theatre round-up! <3

Here are the musicals and plays I’ve seen this year:

Flashcard Tangle

Flashcard Tangle (January 2019) was Jef Flores’ first attempt to bring to life a story of first like-like (not love!) between/among some really smart elementary school kids. Oh, and they’re also still troubled with Spanish and Mathematics. The struggle!

Is this a rewatch? No.
Number of times seen this run: 1

Rounded up from 2.5 stars. Flashcard Tangle was fresh and fun, but the script could use a lot of work to improve the storytelling and flesh out the characters some more. There were a couple of songs which could definitely be played/performed as standalones and still resonate with listeners.

Charot

PETA’s Charot (March 2019) might have been didactic, but given the current political climate, more aggressive steps need to be taken to remind everyone of important, life-changing choices they have to make at the polls.

Is this a rewatch? No.
Number of times seen this run: 1

review 4 stars
Loved the Bandersnatch-inspired treatment for this, where audiences can choose what characters will do next at certain points of the show. Songs are very catchy, too! Walang charot!

Ang Huling El Bimbo

Full House Theater’s Ang Huling El Bimbo (March 2019) made some significant changes from their first run (my review of that here) which made the storytelling smoother, but not less disturbing.

Is this a rewatch? Yes.
Number of times seen this run: 1

Strong individual performances and production design make up this rating, mostly. Still could not give it a higher mark because the rape is still there, and REALLY, the story could have been done without making a tragic character out of the woman.

Angels in America

(Image lifted from Our Awesome Planet)

(OMG I suck, I don’t even have an IG post for it!)

Atlantis Theatrical’s Angels in America (April 2019) tackled themes of homosexuality and mental health in a three-hour long show which was both exhausting and amazing. Exhausting because of the struggles the main characters had, and amazing because we were treated to very strong performances by Art Acuña, Topper Fabregas, Nelsito Gomez, and Cherie Gil.

Is this a rewatch? No.
Number of times seen this run: 1

review 4 stars
It was such a delight to see veteran TV and film actors Art Acuña and Cherie Gil giving it their all on stage. If only for that, I’m giving the show four stars. <3

Kundiman Party

Powerful, funny, and educational, Dulaang UP’s Kundiman Party (May/June2019) is my favorite show out of all that I’ve seen so far this year. It hit home so hard, I was thinking about the characters and the lessons for weeks. Here’s me wishing for a rerun so I can bring in more people to watch this gem of a show.

Is this a rewatch? No.
Number of times seen this run: 2

It’s rare to find an ensemble that’s THIS amazing. And with that kind of material? Golden. (P.S. Hello, my favorite tita is Tita Mitch.)

Laro

(Image lifted from Artist Playground)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play that’s as daring as Artist Playground’s Laro (June 2019), an adaptation of La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler. It explores the power dynamics between various men who meet and have sexual relationships/encounters. Very brave piece of work, which was uncomfortable to watch at times.

Is this a rewatch? No.
Number of times seen this run: 1

 

review 4 stars
Rounded up from 3.5 stars. Solid performances from the actors made the material interesting, laugh-out-loud, and powerful. Maybe another run at a better venue would be good, too?

Meanwhile, here are the shows I’m looking forward to seeing (crossing fingers!) for the second half of the year:

Ubusan na naman ng pera ‘tooooooo! ^_^


By the way, if you’re into musicals and plays and romance like I am, you might want to read my book, Waiting in the Wings. Set in a theatre company based in Manila, the book is about an NBSB theatre actress—who has grown tired of being romanced and kissed only on stage—and her journey to finding love, possibly in someone she did not quite expect.

The book is available on Amazon and print-on-demand (for PH only).

Header photo by Karen Zhao

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