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Fried Rice Paradise

August 27, 2010

Do you like fried rice? Well, this was the subject of the re-staged musical Fried Rice Paradise by Dick Lee.

Set in the 80s, the story basically revolves around a girl called Bee Lean (Denise Tan) who establishes a business over the secret recipe of her fried rice even as a evil businessman Rickson tries to buy over the shophouses at Jalan Calamansi where her father’s shop is. He asks his son Hennessy XO  (Sebastian Tan) to “seduce” her, but who eventually defects to her side as they develop an relationship.

First things first, the sound system didn’t seem very good as I heard a lot of “noise” interference, and at some point, some of the mikes became too soft.

I felt the show passable (maybe I had high expectations?), which left me wondering why. I think 1 reason was that each character (even the leads) didn’t seem to stand out or portray themselves as strongly as they should. I’m not saying the acting was bad or anything (I mean, you have Sebastian Tan after all), but somehow, I think one couldn’t identify with them or was it too many “leads” or not enough development? Like the love story parts weren’t so powerful and though the story tries to bring out Bee Lian’s strong and enterprising character, it didn’t succeed. Maybe too many personal stories going on at the same time? Maybe just like fried rice, there’s a bit of everything.
Secondly, I think there was no emotional draw. Ah! maybe there wasn’t really high “high”?

Well, the songs were ok but I can’t say there were any that were especially memorable, except maybe the well-known Rasa Sayang. Maybe the love songs stood out slighty more like “Dreamgirl” and “That Girl”.

However, it had a better overall cast than December Rains in terms of singing. Darius Tan was also pretty good as Rickson. I was hoping to hear more of Sebastian Tan, but nevertheless, he played his good ah-beng character well. The only thing was that Taufik, though wasn’t bad in singing, didn’t really seem to fit into the show. I’ve heard him sing before (in Malay in fact) elsewhere and was good, but this show didn’t do him justice, nor did it do so for the other members of the cast.

The choreography was not bad too, especially the “plates scene” which needed good coordination (no one dropped a single plate!) and the dance segments. The sets were good too, as with most SRT shows.

I wonder how the original version was like since this was a wholly rewritten version.

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