Qalbu – The Review

What’s Abd?!!

Qalbu, a PBMUKS theatre performance directed by Khalid Bin Supandi. I’m not even going to be politically correct because I simply just let my thoughts flow. I’m not going to be kind because I believe that constructive critism can only help one do better and progress. So, if you’re ready, you can read my review below. I’m probably not a professional critique nor am I probably a good actor or director but for every paid performance, I believe that every paying audience deserves to be heard.

Director, Khalid Bin Supandi, failed to bring out the artistic direction through the use of lighting which was very frequently used. The light coordination and cues caused quite a confusion for the audience who were led to believe that there was something on stage only for the lights to be dimmed again as the lights had came on too early.

Some props proved to be over-the-top and impressive yet under utilised. The grave was beautiful but was only used once. Perhaps just the use of the tombstone would have sufficed rather than the whole grave as there wasn’t much use of it except for the tombstone. The baby cot could have been substituted to a smaller hand-carry pram instead of the whole cot. Totally unnecessary as the audience would have nonetheless understood that babies sleep in prams or cots, possibly even, just mattresses.

Some of the props for the club scene also could have been better utilised such as the disco lights which were only used in the first introduction of the pub/ bar and the jukebox which was probably, untouched. At this juncture, I question the use of the jukebox when you are in a pub/ bar as such establishments have DJs to play the music even in the 90’s.The jukebox could have been better substituted for a pool table which would have been more real life. There was also a point of time in the performance when there was a radio that appeared out of nowhere and that radio only appeared once. What is the significance of the radio since the radio seemed to have jolted something out of Sarah.

Ros, the transvestite mummy played by Mahathir Aziz, stole the limelight with his near believable acting. However, there were certain lines which were totally unnecessary. Over exagerrated at certain parts of the show, Ros, was probably the most memorable character of the night. She was suppossedly ‘storytelling’ but somehow turned the show into a story about her instead of Sarah. I got lost thinking if the focus was on Ros or Sarah. Ros was perhaps over-energized as the tremendous amount of energy that she potrayed wasn’t on par with the rest of the cast.

Sarah, the prominent lounge hostess played by Diana Amran potrayed a good performance of a lounge hostess who was eventually made paralysed by an accident. An emotionally angry to an emotional wreck, Sarah perhaps failed to convince me that she was repentant about her past.

Hazami, police inspector played by Hafiz Rohani never looked like a police inspector at all. There wasn’t any potrayal to the audience that he was a police inspector other than the fact that it was verbally mentioned. His actions and behaviours never showed any signs that he was a police inspector. The Director could have perhaps capitalised on the situation whereby after Hazami visited the club and was introduced to the drugs on sale. The Director could have made Hazami into an officer who had connections with higher echelons in the Narcotics team who gave a tip off instead of having him mentioned he wanted to make a police report.

Rival hostess at Kelab Mawar, Natasha played by Natria Siman, was absolutely bitchy in her character as a hostess who wanted to fight for power and eventually got it. She could have perhaps been given a slightly bigger role to potray the rivalry and relationship she had with Sarah to let audiences understand why she hated Sarah so much becaused Sarah later mentioned that she had always treated Natasha as a sister. This puts a big question mark to the sour rivalry between the both of them.

Mike, the Daddy of Kelab Mawar played by Indra Iskandar lived his life like a total Daddy. He was perhaps the only character who managed to convinced me that he was a Daddy there with his presence. I would have loved it more to have been able to see his relationship with the rest of the girls in the club rather than just Natasha, Sarah and Ros.

On the whole, I felt that perhaps more research should have been conducted into the performance. For a start, you do not get hanged for possession of drugs, you get hanged for traffiking. The person who puts the noose around your neck isn’t the prison officer but an officer who wears a black mask/ hood over the face. In the 90’s, there wasn’t a proper calling system to book Cabs. Moreover, most clubs would have personal contact of a cab driver, especially so if you are a hostess.

There were also certain scenes whereby the silence and emotion of the scene was broken by the abrupt singing which was an absolute distraction. There was also perhaps too much emphasis on the songs sung by the characters as perhaps the Director wanted to ensure that the audience heared the word Qalbu in the song.

Unfortunately, Qalbu was an absolutely amateurish performance for a second-time Director. It wasn’t thought provoking nor did it manage to sustain the audience interest in Sarah. This was supposed to be an emotional play which turned out to be a joke.

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