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Lost in Transit


Lost In Transit
Reviewed by Steven Ang

Music: Desmond Moey
Book and Lyrics: Stella Kon
Director: Adrian Tan
Music Arranger: Sara Wee
Cast: Sara Wee, Tan Shou Chen, Windson Liong
Venue: The Arts House
Date: Sunday 26 June 2005

Lost in Transit is a brand new musical which debuted as part of the musical theatre festival Five Foot Broadway. Described as an incubation project, the entire festival was made without a budget save for venue sponsorship by The Arts House, individual contributions mostly from the participants and promoted under the auspices of the Singapore Arts Festival. It was jointly produced by The Next Stage Performing Arts Academy and The Musical Theatre Society The organizers hope to turn the festival into a yearly event. The other four musicals that make up the rest of the festival are Heartstrings by playwright Jack Tan and composer Sean Wong, Don't Say I Do written and composed by Justin Kan, Dragon Tales written by Ng Swee San with music by Bang Wenfu, and Boom Baby Boom written by Andrew KP Leong and music by Kenneth Lyen.

Written by Stella Kon and directed by Adrian Tan, with music by Desmond Moey and arranged by Sara Wee, Lost In Transit centers around a simple village girl, Mia (played by music arranger Wee), who was tempted into the big city with dreams of becoming a singing superstar, only to be led into a life of vice. Her fiance Sam (Windson Liong) goes to the city in search of her and ends up in jail. Mia's grandmother, the proverbial wise old lady (played by playwright Stella Kon), describes them as 'lost in transit'.

What the show lacked in materialistic flair and glamour, it made up abundantly in its heartfelt delivery, benefiting no doubt by strong performances from the principle actors. In the roles of the romantic leads Sam and Sara, Widson Liong and Sara Wee shared much chemistry, especially in songs like the love ballad And I Will Always Love You, just one of the show's many poignant moments. Liong's light tenor voice blended perfectly with Wee's small but strongly supported vocals. Many potentially melodramatic moments were smoothed over with a strong directing hand and committed but never over-the-top performances. Stella Kon as the Grandmother did not do well in her solo musical number, but she looked and played her part well. Tan Shou Chen completes the main cast with a hilarious performance of the sleazy and flamboyant nightclub owner Robert.

But it was clearly Wee's performance that touched audiences the most. Her strong dramatic powers and sweet, lyrical voice made Mia's dreams, heartbreak, regret and pain clearly felt by one and all.

Compactly packed into a performance time of close to 45 minutes, the musical moved quickly and I thought certain moments might benefit from some fleshing out. The songs and accompanying music was simply delivered, touching without being overtly flashy, save for a catchy disco number by Robert. The festival could not have asked for a better venue than the Playden at The Arts House; its small, intimate setting fits perfectly with the small scale of the works performed. Unamplified voices blended perfectly with the prerecorded arrangements, and the production glowed with a palpable sense of camaraderie.

 An additional Q&A session, award ceremony and additional performances of scenes from all five musicals meant that the crumbling dam that is my bladder just had to hold-on for a little longer. Otherwise, I found in this show yet another rewarding experience in live theatre. Read more about Five Foot Broadway and The Musical Theatre Society at their website www.musicals.org.sg.

[This review was written for Music Maxout]