Watching the press preview of Stages Production Specialist Inc.’s newest comedy musical CHUVA CHOO CHOO – THE MISTER KUPIDO MUSICALE is like listening to FM Radio on a lazy Sunday afternoon. You can do something else and still get experience. Gets?
The musicale tells the story of two sisters who dream of becoming famous singing stars. After witnessing a supposed “murder”, they are forced to leave their province and hide in Manila where they disguise themselves as gay men working as female impersonators.
It thrives on a known formula and attempts to be campy at times. It is visually scattered, loud, and its plot – too contrived. It could’ve worked much better, had the team behind the production looked beyond the usual run-of-the-mill structure that we are all so familiar with. It is useless to look for hidden satires that we noticed in Billy Wilder‘s SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959), nor the astounding character transformations and consistencies in CONNIE AND CARLA (2004). At times it could be jumpy, and some jokes don’t give the expected punch to make a thinking patron laugh. There weren’t much takeaways from its story and its characters. As much as the narrative does it best to send a message across, it still fails. So you see, if you’re after something deep and profound, might as well drop those expectations.
So there, finding meaning in it is useless. Absurd, even. But who cares? Like listening to radio, we listen to music not because of its meaning but because of its form. Jose Garcia Villa would agree. Like music, lyrical poetry thrives on the beauty of structure, and meaning is only secondary…if not, unnecessary.
Or that’s just probably me. And Villa, for that matter.
Having said that, Vehnee Saturno’s timeless music saves this production. Saturno, known for his popular hits, blesses CHUVA with his Be My Lady (Martin Nievera), Sana Kahit Minsan and Simple Lang (Ariel Rivera), Isang Lahi (Regine Velasquez), Mr. Kupido (Rachel Alejandro), Bakit Pa? (Jessa Zaragoza), Wala Na Bang Pag-ibig and Dahil Tanging Ikaw (Jaya) and many more. You just can’t fail in a Saturno song, yes? Here, Saturno offers the magic of his songs to a new generation of audiences, as well as those who have grown to love him through the decades.
If you ask me if its any good, I’d still say, yes. Yes, baby! Go see it and be nostalgically delighted.
If anything, I have been listening to Saturno’s music in YouTube, since last night. Wonders, after wonders.
CHUVA CHOO CHOO could be a lot more, actually. Apart from its music, it still needs a lot of work. And it being live and continuing, makes it ultimately promising.
But for now, I thank Saturno’s music for the absolution.
Photos by Mr. Erickson dela Cruz