Budak Kampung

The first book which I learnt to ‘read’ as a toddler, even before my very first story book (which was Chicken Licken) was actually ‘Lat the Kampung Boy’. My old man was a fan and he used to keep the book in the low drawer beside the stereo. Of course as the toddler then, I couldn’t resist ransacking the drawers, taking this coveted book out and leafing through it (and destroying it in the process). As a first time mother, mine couldn’t resist capturing it all on camera. That was how I knew that my first encounter with a cartoon character was that with a rotund, bushy haired village boy who later turned quite famous indeed.

On Saturday, we went to watch Lat the Kampung Boy musical which was directed by Hans Isaac and Harith Iskandar. When the promotions for the musical was advertised, I had anticipated it to be an awesome production in which I wouldn’t mind paying to watch again. I had even earlier wanted to take my old man to watch it, but he declined for some reason. On how we came to possess a set of tickets with good seating arrangements at a quarter of the price is another story altogether. And so we went, my husband, my friend and I.

I was initially amused that Awie was chosen to play Lat. Overall, the musical was not that bad, but good is not what I would personally describe it as. They have good talents in the cast, but I find that the talents didn’t gel. Awie’s chemistry with co-star Atillia was zilch, although as a saving grace, both of them were really talented singers. Atillia was impressive there and that surprised me, because when she first started, we heard her sing at the concourse of Cineleisure Curve while having bubble tea at the Taiwanese shop. And we were wondering WHO is this wannabe?

The first half of the musical was draggy. I dozed off for several moments, and I have never done that at any musicals before this. The opening number was nice and catchy though, but that was it. It crawled on till intermission time where we had that glimmer of reluctance to go back in for the second half. But we did and we were glad because the second half was way better than the first half. If their strategy was to save the best for last, it was indeed a risky move because I was quite sure some audience did leave during the intermission and didn’t come back. I enjoyed the second half, especially that of the Frankie character. He was hilarious. I would give the musical a 6 out of 10. Probably Awie, in my eyes failed to bring out the Lat character the way I had imagined it to be. The draggy first half didn’t help either.

However, despite everything, I would give 2 thumbs up to the set design. It was as though the book came alive and I was seeing it in 3D.


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