My boss had sent me an email about the charity show by ComChest just before Christmas. I was spending my last few days at work and thought it would be a good way of paying back to the company that I had spent a wonderful ten months, as Brahm Centre would share 50% with Com Chest for ticket sales on this particular charity night. It would also save me a Christmas shopping trip as these tickets would be a wonderful gift for my family – gift of experience instead of stuff. I had enjoyed Mulan, the Disney musical and initially thought the musical was based on that, even telling my sister-in-law to let my 3-year-old niece and 7-year-old nephew watch the cartoon prior to the musical, to get a sense of familiarity. Was I wrong.
I just read from the website that RWS has marketed this as a production from Taiwan, but one certainly can’t tell with the amount of Singlish in the dialogues, and reference to local army lingoes. The fact that Ann Kok and Pierre Png acted, both Mediacorp artists, gives the impression that it was a Mediacorp production.
My sister-in-law was warned at the entrance that the show has an advisory of NC16 for coarse languages. It was bad. I cringed at the song sung with Hokkien vulgarity and wondered if it’s necessary. In my opinion, this script of Mulan turned a wholesome family drama about filial piety into some cheap B-grade production, despite a the musical having good costumes and stage set-up, showing some extravagance rarely seen in Chinese local stage productions.
In this version of Mulan, Mulan was forced by family circumstances to take over the father and enlist for the war as her promiscuous elder sister is pregnant out of wedlock, and younger brother prefers playing with dolls than guns. There, she attracts her childhood friend and General, who both thought they were attracted to an effeminate male named Mu Nan.
Mu Nan then disguises herself back to being a woman to seduce the Mongols enemy and saves her troop, only to lose her childhood friend and injures herself. The General then finds out that she is a woman.
The cast are mostly non singers which showed but the luckily songs did not stretch them too much. I like Mulan, for she is cute and the shower scene with the general is the most enjoyable for me. This was the same scene which Pierre Png bared his bottom, and my colleagues sitting at the back lamented that they were too far to get a good glimpse and asked me (sitting in row H) if it was his real bottom.
Incidentally, in today’s Mind & Body segment of The Straits Times, Pierre Png mentioned that the favourite part of his body is “My butt“, perhaps in a way promoting this musical. So if you wants a glimpse, then go watch. Pass otherwise.