>magic of love by touch entertainment
>reviewed by arthur kok
22 sep 2001
The embroidered cheongsams, black brogans, rosewood furniture and particularly the powder-cake complexion of the women meant that MAGIC OF LOVE turned out a campier 'On the Bund' on Saturday nights. Helping the English medium sit well with the Chinese premise of the production was not only the strong east-meets-west aesthetic but also the framing context of a cabaret in Shanghai. Against this performance space (the cabaret) within a performance space (the Singapore Indoor Stadium), a musical drama of relations under siege unfolded.
and Priscilla are a father and daughter team of illusionists who devote
their waking hours to perfecting their craft and amassing the accolades.
Their bond soon becomes threatened, however, by feelings of neglect, distrust,
personal pride and ambition. Between this pair exist the allergy-stricken
(but good) Ah Chu and the jealousy-stricken (therefore bad) Shanghai Charlie.
Most of the characters seem to have stepped out of a feel-good sitcom,
with the criminals unconvincingly flat and one-dimensional (think evil
laughter and laughable ambition).
>>'The musical lacked a strong score despite having composer Iskandar Ismail on the payroll'
Holding together this lightweight and feel-happy musical were a cast of varying stage-experience. Lawrence and Priscilla, were played credibly by relative newcomers and a real-life father-and-daughter pair (Lawrence and Priscilla Khong). Their portrayals are made more earnest as they sought to work their own journey to renewed intimacy through the musical. Ah Chu (Chua En Lai) sees an actor more accustomed to demandingly unconventional stage acting uncomfortably working through his colourless role of a lapdog.
grievances aside, the musical still managed to tell a simple and affecting
story. This is because the plot sought the simplicity of a parable and
audaciously sidestepped any aspiration for complexity and nuance. The
foregone conclusion anticipated by the genre is that hurts can be healed,
evil can be overcome, and that the "magic of love" does indeed
triumph. In the light of the recent tragedy in America, I wonder if this
does indeed approach some sort of a respite from the troubled age we live