Business Times review

H is for having a heart of gold
Amanda De Guzman
21 August 2009
(c) 2009 Singapore Press Holdings Limited

EVEN for the easily frightened, there’s very little to be scared about in H is for Hantu. All the supernatural creatures in this musical are either furry, funny or both.

Clearly geared for the younger set, the show follows the adventures of Sazali (Ghazali Mukazir), a resident in the last kampung in Singapore, which is about to be razed in the name of urban development. While most of his neighbours are pretty pleased about moving, Sazali extols the virtues of life in the kampung.

One of the things he enjoys is that his best friends are always nearby: Pontianak (Josephine Tan) and Hantu Penanggalan (Candice de Rozario). Tan’s Pontianak is a sexy diva prone to big band singing, while Hantu Penanggalan – or Miss P, as Sazali instructs us to call her – is a puppet with only her major intestines for a body. The two are prone to constant bickering, but this takes a backseat to their problem, which will see their home being destroyed. The trio don’t know what to do; even Sazali’s shadow puppet attempt to convince government agent Angie Chia (Koh Wan Ching) about the value of the kampung is in vain. That is, until they realise that Ms Chia is being possessed by a little girl hantu. Determined to figure out who this ghost is, the three of them set out to meet other hantus in an attempt to solve the mystery.

While the message of the importance of traditional values is endearing, there isn’t too much in the production for those out of their early teens. However, for the kids, it’s an enjoyable musical ride that comes with some memorable characters, catchy tunes and some palatable lesson-learning. Their chaperones will be able to appreciate Eucien Chia’s cleanly inventive set design, as well as a bravura performance by Josephine Tan, whose stylish yet calibrated strutting and preening easily steals the stage.

‘H is for Hantu’ will be staged until Aug 23 at the Alliance Francaise Theatre. Tickets are $30-$40 and can be purchased at www.gatecrash.com.sg

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