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P. Ramlee The Musical

May 19, 2008
by

I went to watch P. Ramlee yesterday night and it was a major production. The sets, costumes, etc. were very elaborate. It was not bad, although I couldn’t really understand most of it as it was in Malay…but there were English subtitles. It’s the first time I’m watching a Malay theatre production. A bit difficult for me to try to “toggle” between the scene on stage and the subtitling, but managed to get through it.

However, I am rather torn about the production, the main reason being that Dick Lee composed half the songs for the musical (the rest being Ramlee’s songs). As 1 of the audience said “I don’t want to hear Dick Lee in P. Ramlee.” And indeed, when I listened and watched carefully, I could differentiate between to 2 styles; you could tell which parts were Dick Lee’s and which parts were Ramlee’s.

I sort of felt the same as that viewer. I came to watch about P. Ramlee and was really expecting more of his personality and music to shine forth. Instead, this mixture caused some of Ramlee’s “flavour” to be lost. Not that Dick Lee is not a good composer, but maybe it felt a bit commercialised for being a biographical depiction of Ramlee’s life.

Well, just some thoughts…

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