Acrobatics light up cheesy show

Review Musical

LIGHTSEEKER

Resorts World Sentosa

Resorts World Theatre/Last Friday

Watching LightSeeker was like being force-fed a poorly curated platter of campy 1990s cheesiness, which was made barely palatable only by a healthy side of acrobatics.

It is hard to put a finger on what was the worst part of the show. The cliched dialogue? The obviously expensive but terribly campy costumes? The storyline which has too many holes?

Created by veteran TV producer Andrea Teo, Resorts World Sentosa's third original production had a paper- thin, science-fiction plot about a mysterious evil Emperor (Lim Kay Siu, appearing only on video) who feeds on the light in people in order to survive. He gets this light with the help of his two lieutenants, Usha (Vivienne Carlyle) and The General (Stuart Boother).

To get more of this essential essence, he tries to force Nova (Sarah Brown, as a mysterious spirit-like creature) to create light for him, but his plan is thwarted when she turns The General against him.

What could actually have been a straightforward epic is thrown into disarray by the injection of random, inexplicable plot elements and jarring transitions.

Somehow, Nova comes from a land where people wear white, high-collared flowy robes. Then Usha turns her pet snakes into human form so that they can hunt for the missing Nova, but they never do so. And later, Nova has to raise an army of near-dead souls that never actually end up fighting.

The General looked like a villain from a 1990s children's cartoon, with garish colours and over-the-top embellishments. And Nova wore a corset that lit up in the midsection at emotional high-points, sort of like a singing Iron Man.

The script was equally melodramatic. The General stomped about the stage shouting lines such as "your life is mine!", while Usha snarled at her prisoners, "I can either take the pain away, or make it stronger". It felt like the spoof of 2007 Hollywood hit Epic Movie, except that everything was dead-serious.

The songs by veteran musical composer Dick Lee were passable, but forgettable. There were no foot-tapping tunes, catchy refrains like there were in Fried Rice Paradise or emotional highs like those evoked by Forbidden City. When I left the theatre, I felt like they all blended into one long piece of music.

The second half of the musical was much better, if only because it focused on plying the audience with stunts and acrobatics on trampolines and suspended ropes, which were truly impressive.

When Nova rekindled the lights in the near-dead spirits, they soared close to the ceiling of the theatre on netted swings and, during the finale, two performers swung above the heads of the audience carrying lanterns.

While the production values and the physical elements of the show were admirable, they were not enough to compensate for the overdramatic script and the convoluted plot. Though LightSeeker aimed high, it fell short, and fell hard.


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.