Have you always wanted to experience the orchestra we have here in Malaysia but wonder if it will be too heavy for you? Or do you want to bring young children to watch it with you but they are too young or you are afraid they might make noise? Then, join the Family Fun Day orchestra program like this one that I went last month. There are many more programs coming up at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas with our own MPO, with the next called PRESTO, MAMBO! on 28-29 Nov 2015. I will be reviewing my first Family Fun Day experience which I brought 6 year old Josiah along.
Put on their best clothes and be at KLCC Petronas Tower 2 at least 15 min before the show starts. Kids being kids would need to visit the washroom before the show. I love how they provided padded cushions for the kids that are shorter so they too can sit higher and see better. Also, the ushers in the hall wear a cute vest on this Family Fun Day show with a smiley face, how thoughtful, I thought. They also wear wider smiles and the atmosphere of the hall is more light hearted than usual. Of course, the usual rules of no camera or photos inside the hall remain. Should you try to whip up your phone to capture your cute kid, be warned that ushers will fly to you faster than lightning from any corner to stop you from taking a picture.
The Jack and The Beanstalk production was from Roald Dahl’s funny version, adapted by Donald Sturrock Performed by Dandi Productions (4 Performers) with the original score by by Georgs Pelécis (45 minutes). Jack’s story is no stranger to all of us, I am sure everyone have heard this story as a young child, the story of the boy and the magic beans and the giant bean stalk, and the giant that lived in the clouds.
There are only four actors in the whole show and they really managed to pull it off with their many antics. The four actors deserved a mention here and they are DOUG MCKEAG, BRADEN GRIFFITHS, ODETTE HEYN and KENDRA PENNER. Four very highly talented and diverse actors with a wealth of experience behind them, here at the MPO to entertain the little ones and their parents. The actors caught us by surprise by entering the hall from the back, high fiving the little children and interacting with them immediately as they enter, to our utmost delight. Even their entrance was already funny, as they attempted to climb on the concert stage to the guffaws and giggles from the prim and properly dressed children, probably expecting a formal setting, and no space for laughters, but opposite was the case.
Josiah kept wondering out loud, how would they create the beanstalk? Well, it was well thought out and creatively planned. The beanstalk would be one of the actors seated on the ladder! The MPO played the whole 45 min without a rest as the very unexpected story unfolded before our eyes. The acting was so brilliant that yes, for most of the moments, I could not remember the orchestra playing. In a hall with all ages of audience, I was as captivated with the story as any of my young counterparts. However, should I have to note on the score, it was indeed lively, rich and spirited to fit every part of the story telling which simply flowed naturally.
It was most amazing when the bean turned into a beanstalk, with the longest of cloth majestically hoisted to the high ceilings, giving the illusion, that yes, it is the beanstalk for real. I could hear gasps of delight in the audience for sure. Some outrageous puppets were used interchangeably with the real actors playing Jack, the mother, and the giant. It was indeed so witty to use puppets to create a larger than life giant illusion.
Luckily, no one fainted from the appearance of the giant. Might I say there was even a cow that walked the stage. That was a hilarious scene with the cow, and some chaos ensued in the story as well at the end, with actors running the full length in interchanging costumes. The children enjoyed trememdously, and I was definitely one of them. Family Fun Days shows are super popular at the MPO, so my advise is to book them early to get the best seats.
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