It took a Malaysian living in Singapore to introduce me to the show. SF used to be my theatre companion once upon a time when we were ICI colleagues and when she travelled down from KL to Singapore frequently. After we left ICI (and it had since closed), we still caught a few shows but very infrequently. She was seconded to Singapore for six months in June and must have been thrilled by the vibrant theatre scene and if not for work would have caught a few more. Recently she asked me to go to Phantom of the Opera at MBS. I have seen the show three times and bulked at the high price. SF went without me. This time when she told me about Lightseeker, dangling the bait that ‘it’s written by Dick Lee’, I was totally astonished that I have not heard of it before. A musical by Dick Lee? I was tasked to buy the ticket and was pleasantly surprised at the very reasonable price. With HSBC discount, one best seat ticket is less than $80.
Then I read in the papers that the preview had to be postponed because of some technical problems. Until then, I still do not know what the show is about. Then the review from Straits’Times came and it was poor. SF and I groaned.
The good news is – the critic was rather harsh.
Lightseeker is an acrobatic musical written by ex-TCS writer with songs by Dick Lee. I was introduced to acrobatic musical when I watched Journey to the West. Then, we were all familiar with the story line and the novelty of added music and acrobatic made the show very enjoyable. (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/%e8%a5%bf%e6%b8%b8%e8%ae%b0journey-to-the-west-acrobatic-drama-a-review/)
This time, however, I didn’t know Lightseeker is an acrobatic show, plus I am not into science fiction or fantasy with non-human people. Thus, the beginning with the long video introduction was rather dragging. The poor narration by Lim Kay Siew did not helped. Even though we were right in front (row E smack in the centre), I couldn’t understand what he was saying and had to rely on the Chinese subtitles. Thankfully, once the show gets going, it was easy to follow the show.
Lightseeker (looking very much like Orlando Bloom’s Legolas in The Hobbit, with his long blond tress) is a (confused) man being ordered to search for the essence to bring light to the emperor of darkness. He is aided by Usha, a heartless woman, who is competing for his position and hopefully becomes empress. Those who are captured by Lightseeker either gets their essence sucked away and become comatose, or are enslaved. But this is no solution as the essence is not enough, until Usha discovers the young girl Nova, who gives out light from within herself. Nova is caught but she is so naively kind she unwittingly torches off a riot among the slaves and causes Lightseeker to rethink his role in all this to defect Usha.
(Photos courtesy of RWS.)
The singing was passable, with the initial few verse sung rather softly, but as the singing reaches the crescendo, it was quite good. I thought Dick Lee did a good job with the songs. The most impressive was of course the acrobatics, with the actors suspended high above the audience as they swung and bungee hung in mid-air.
Visually, the costumes were elaborate, with exaggerated head gears and flamboyant gowns. Stage wise, the combination of futuristic props with swings and trampolines were well coordinated. My only complaint was the initial change took a long time and the audience were subjected to long video screening.
Perhaps because we lowered our expectations after reading the review, we found the show surprisingly enjoyable at the end. At such as affordable rate, it’s a wonderful theatre experience for the whole family to enjoy.
(Read about my back stage visit to LightSeeker https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/lightseeker-back-stage-pass/)