Review: Explosions! Oligarchy! Feng-shui! And Sweet, Sweet, Satire Makes ‘INDICINELIVE! The Revival Show’ A Major Success
Stage performer and musician Hannan Azlan went to watch INDICINELIVE!’s The Revival Show last weekend. Here she shares her thoughts on the production with us, enjoy!
After a three-year hiatus, INDICINELIVE! was back with a new episode under the direction of Freddy Tan and UiHua Cheah. The Revival Show playfully captured the idiosyncrasies and political incorrectness of Malaysians with a selection of pieces from past episodes.
Brought to life by the collaborative efforts of SIFU Production, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat, the doors opened to an intimate set-up; a transverse stage with the signature INDICINELIVE! icon, which made being there feel like we were about to watch a fashion show.
This proved to be at least somewhat true as the lively cast had countless quick changes – sometimes while still on stage – with costumes ranging from sarongs to tutus to saris.
The sketch-comedy-styled show alternated between skits and video, featuring the “president and founder of the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Malaysian Culture (SPTMC)” played by Yusuf Amin. The president was the only character who did not make a physical appearance – much to our disappointment as his strong impression as an antagonist left us curious and wanting.
Nonetheless, we were pleased to watch the gems that were re-staged, including a brilliant scene depicting a battle between Sam Man, whose mission was to saman and tow the car of a half-Penangite. What made this scene extraordinary was the fact that Freddy Tan provided voice-overs for every character that was on stage.
Yes. Every character.
The good guy, the bad guy, the cronies, all the sound effects and also kung-fu noises. Freddy undoubtedly drove the scene with his larger-than-life performance while standing in the corner the whole time.
Another ingenious piece depicted an IRL videogame. A shopper, played by Tika Mu’tamir, goes through the struggles of being in a mall, having to dodge a variety of enemies throughout the levels including a skincare salesgirl, credit card pushers, and window-wiper promotions. The shopper manages to reach the Boss Level, where she has to fight a woman, played by the painfully talented Siti Farrah Abdullah, who tries to guilt-trip her into giving donations to orphaned children.
As the shopper weakens and reaches into her wallet, nearly defeated… PLOT TWIST! She gets a power-up from a free sample and reveals that she too is an orphan with a tragic past, thus managing to defeat the Boss Level with the power of her own sadness!
Tika also provided beat-boxing in a rap about durian, forming one of the many musical numbers featured in this episode. The songs touched on an array of locally relevant subjects including aurat, Chindian men, what it means to be Chinese, and a children’s song about corruption. Aaron Teoh’s impressive vocal abilities stood out during a parody of K-Pop song titled “Nobody”, alongside Anrie Too, playing his feisty mistress who wanted “your money, your money, not you”.
There were also many references to current issues: scenes that stood out include a news segment discussing how coconut DNA affected kids, making them exhibit “kelapa-type behavior”, and there was also a scene about a certain first lady’s affinity for shopping and her creative, permanent, solutions to problems.
This play provided a safe space to laugh at matters that are far from funny. And laugh, we did!
The recurring themes of identity and isu-isu sensitif were extremely well received by the full house. This is a healthy sign that as audiences, as patrons of the arts, as the rakyat, we are aware of current issues but also willing to laugh, support, and agree not to take things too seriously, much like Gino.
Played by Ivan Chan, the lovable Gino was the only new character in this episode, brought back by popular demand from SIFU Profuction’s earlier work, Fifteen. Chan’s earnest and playful depiction of the Filipino waiter won audiences over. Alongside Hana Nadira’s portrayal of the evil ‘Italian’ chef, the dynamic between the two was a delight to watch.
Luigi and Gino initially start to pass out drinks to the VIPs – many who failed to show up, though that’s nothing new – but their interaction escalates, provoked by a power-struggle and mistreatment of employees, such as Luigi blackmailing Gino into staying by refusing to return his passport.
“You are just the meatball in the marinara, and I am the sauce!” Luigi exclaims.
“…I don’t get it,” Gino replies.
At the peak of this scene, it is revealed that Luigi is not, in fact, Italian. He is embarrassed and proceeds to bolt off-stage, leaving Gino to interact with the audience on his own. Luigi taught us that being dishonest backfires, and running away only from the truth only results in other people having to clean up the mess.
INDICINELIVE! The Revival Show got hopes up, and did not disappoint. In fact, shows were sold out days in advance, so next time make sure to book them to avoid having your heart broken.
The fun and lighthearted writing, executed with attention to detail by an energetic and charming cast has got us eagerly looking forward to the next episode. There were so many enjoyable moments jam-packed into the show that we definitely got our money’s worth.
Whatever will these folks bring up next? When will we be able to watch the team in action again? Is it going to be as brilliant as this most recent installment? Find out by following the team on social media!
Pictures sourced from INDICINELIVE! The Revival Show’s Facebook page.