It was just a little after 9pm and the laidback audience continued to trickle in. The murmur of the crowd was just audible over the recorded music streaming from the speakers above.
Not sure what their conversations were about, but at my table in the Theatre Lounge Cafe in Plaza Damas 3, we were going on about the suspension of publications placed on The Edge Media Group. Talk like that can make you want to crawl under a rock and go to sleep, hoping to wake up to a bright new future.
I didn’t even notice the tall Ben Stock come from the back of the room to take his seat at the baby grand on the left of the stage. He was decked in dark brown pants, a contrasting off-white shirt with an unbuttoned collar, and a waistcoat. It was only when he spoke that his bright voice took me away from looking at my hot, non-alcoholic drink in a cup.
Who is Ben Stock? He’s a West End theatre actor making his cabaret debut in Kuala Lumpur and he brought along songs and music that have shaped his life thus far.
After a brief introduction, he tickled the keys and sang a song that set the mood for the rest of the evening. Yes, you can take this man literally when he’s doing “Wanna Sing A Showtune”. Except he meant this in a plural sense, as we later found out.
Stock’s tenor voice is bright and sunny. It’s easy and clear – ringing like a bell in the quiet English countryside on an early Sunday morning. There’s also an optimistic quality to it that says nothing is going to get him down. At one point, Ben sang “Look For The Silver Lining”, as if to confirm suspicions of the man.
In “Mama A Rainbow” and “Where Do You Start”, he relates anecdotes revealing his indebtedness to his mother and father respectively. He even had a song for the city he lives in and loves most: London.
In the second half of the show, Ben, now in a jacket, was accompanied by Loh Ui Lai who once posted on Facebook after their very first rehearsal session stating, “Back from a rehearsal with Ben Stock! Such an amazing singer.”
When Stock performed two of Noel Coward’s songs, “Mrs Worthington” and “Why Must the Show Go On”, he had audiences laughing. This singer is an actor and a comedian with impeccable timing and a smile that invites you into his world.
The entire time I was there I felt entertained. Held. News of The Edge melted away for a while, and it was the respite I needed.
A respite many desire, I believe, to be rid of the country’s apparently never-ending problems.
‘And There Was Music’ continues this evening (Saturday) and tomorrow at 9pm. For tickets, head over to Theatre Lounge Cafe.