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I chanced upon "H for Hantu" while web browsing. I was sold on the hilarious production name and thought it would be an interesting watch. And true enough, the local musical comedy by STAGES now in it's 2nd run (since 2009) did not disappoint.
It was a familiar tale about Singapore’s last existing kampung, which is about to be wiped out to make way for development. The move spurred on supernatural residents who decided to put up a fight with feisty Sazali, a young kampung boy.

I didn't think the story could be serious enough to carry enough weight. But I was pleasantly surprised that writer-director Jonathan Lim put together a honest, true to heart and well crafted story. There were LOL scenes filled with spooks, ingenious puppets created by puppeteer, Frankie Malachi and infectious music that the audience can sing a long with. I loved the music so much, I even picked up the original music CD during the intermission.

The casts were easy to relate to and the story was relevant to today's issues and technologies. There were mention of power cuts while watching "The Little Nyonya" and Cik Mariam, a 60-something-year-old auntie creating Facebook events for the kampung folks!

The cast includes Ghazali Muzakir as Sazali, a young kampung boy who has dead friends, Candice de Rozario as Miss P, a friendly penanggal who’s just looking for some body, and Jo Tan as Cik Pon, a pontianak with an unusual problem many would envy.

It was delightful learning about all the local spirits, many of which I didn't know by name before - Hantu Batu (Stone Spirit), Pontianak, Hantu Penanggalan (Miss P. in this case only have a head with dangling intestines), Hantu Galah (Giant Spirit with wood-gnarled face) and the Banana Tree Spirit. The puppets were designed and created by Singapore’s pioneer professional puppeteers, Frankie Malachi. They reminded me of the puppets used in 2008's "Avenue Q" and were comparable in quality. I was very impressed with the scale of Hantu Galah and the Banana Tree Spirit during the Hantu Hunt!

Hantu Pocong and the Banana Tree Spirit

Traditional Wayang Kulit performance featuring shadow puppets of Hantu battling the rising city

"H for Hantu" sneak peek

"H is for Hantu", that’s good enough for you…

"H for Hantu" was pure delight and a very encouraging effort for locally produced theatre. There is news that a sequel is in the works. I'll be looking out for that!

Category: Theatre and Performances
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Avenue Q - "Just Like Your Life, Only Funnier."
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