Kiss Of The Spider Woman in Malaysia – A Review by Az Samad
Recently, I caught Kiss of The Spider Woman staged at Pentas 2, klpac. The Malaysian staging of Kiss of The Spider Woman (directed by Christopher Ling) is a musical that challenges the audience. For one, it’s set in a prison and focuses on two cellmates that come from contrasting backgrounds. Through Molina (Dominic Lucien Luk) we are introduced to his fascination of movies and the Spider Woman, a role played by his favorite star Aurora. The stories told by Molina paralells or more precisely comforts him and, at some points, his cellmate Valentin (Michael Chen). Other characters weave in and out of their stories including Davina Goh as Molina’s mother and Anrie Too as Marta.
The musical moves in a mostly fixed set that create a deeper space than what is available for them. Kudos to set designer Yusman Mokhtar for his design. The choreography work of Lex Lakshman Balakrishnan also is full of energy and variety to move the story throughout. For the music, musical director Stephen Tok creates a dreamy pallete of sound with the minimal trio of musicians (piano/keyboards, bass and electronic drum kit). Besides the fact that the music seems to be only coming from the left side of the stage (where the musicians were), they managed to bring out interesting colors to support the actors singing. I did, however, feel that perhaps at times the actors might have not have enough monitoring to hear themselves singing.
Throughout the two acts in the musical, I was thoroughly entertained with the story, very smooth transitions between segments and pacing. Especially when sitting in the front row, the action was really close to me as I was on the same level as the actors. A bonus was the Q&A session after the show where we heard some insights from the director and a few actors on their creative process. All in all, it was a great night and for me – a fantastic way to spend my birthday.
Kiss of The Spider Woman runs at penangpac until Dec 23
Az Samad finds joy in performing his original jazz-influenced fingerstyle compositions and teaching music at his home studio. For the past 2 years in a row, he has chosen to celebrate his birthday by attending the theatre. You can find more of his thoughts on life, guitar and squirrels at www.azsamad.com