I was invited to catch the Press Preview of the musical Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag at the Kia Theater last Friday. Technical glitches aside, the musical has so much legs to stand out, with a powerhouse cast that includes Arman Ferrer, Aicelle Santos, and the always-amazing Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, choreography by Douglas Nierras, and gorgeous songs by Von De Guzman.
I just felt the script could have gone through one or two more revisions and the moments outside of the ensemble dance pieces were directed better. The self-contained solos and duets felt so insulated and lacked the power they deserved because the performers were not allowed to really make use of the space. I felt it was a wasted opportunity.
But despite all my comments, the play is still a marvel to watch. It truly shines when the ensemble, over forty players, are all on stage and turn the Kia Theater into a slice of Manila right before your eyes.
It’s still worth going to the theater to see.