Veritable ‘rainbow’ of talents in musicalBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Last October 2 we caught the preview of “The Kitchen Musical,” a new show out of Singapore that has a decidedly regional orientation in casting, and offers some tweaks in terms of format and presentational style that could be the season’s most attractive innovations.
As the preview or extended trailer unreeled, we were heartened to see that, although the producer-director was Singaporean, quite a number of the regular cast members were Pinoy talents—Karylle Tatlonghari, Christian Bautista, Arthur Acuña, Enrique Canoy, etc. And they acquitted themselves well, too.
It was interesting to see that, for the first time in her career, Karylle was using her family name. Will the more complete screen name be carried over to the singer-actress’ local career as well?
In the romantic-comedy-musical series about young chefs, we’re told, Karylle plays a rich girl who opts to work in her family’s posh restaurant, and gets on the bad side of its head chef, played by a Brit-Indian talent, Stephen Rahman Hughes.
Other roles are portrayed by a veritable cultural and ethnic rainbow of actor-singer-dancers from all over the region, including some young Caucasians.
While the show’s “regional smorgasbord” flavor is remarkable, its best suit is its use of songs and dance numbers not just for their entertainment value, but also to advance its plot and character development.
This is by no means a new format fillip. Even on local TV, it’s been tried (unsuccessfully) by a “singing teleserye” that started off on a high note but all too soon ended up as a musical and creative mess.
Of course, the TV musical format’s most effective showcase has been the “Glee” production that set the current trend, and is now on its third season. Will “The Kitchen Musical” match its success? Some musical excerpts look promising, so hope springs.
The final fillip is the storytelling’s culinary orientation. Here again, it’s been done before in films like “Chocolat,” “Julie and Julia,” “Eat, Pray, Love,” etc. The new show goes a step further and even promises to share the recipes of the dishes it features with viewing foodies.
All in all, the preview of “The Kitchen Musical,” which airs on Studio 23, was an appropriately yummy viewing treat. Let’s hope that the actual series is similarly delectable.
We want to end this advance appreciation with a specific note on the involvement of Fil-Am actor Arthur Acuña in the production: It looks like he’s playing a restaurant manager, and he stands out in the company of rather young talents due to his obvious experience.
We trust that, when the proceedings get to be too ga-ga giddy, he can help pull everything together with his obviously superior acting chops.
We first noted Acuña’s exceptional ability in the indie film “Niño,” and we’re glad to see him in harness again, though in a much lighter role. Can we keep him busy here, so he doesn’t have to go back to the States? Let’s!
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