After a year of hiatus, 9 Works Theatrical came back with a simple yet captivating production with Neil Simon, Carole Bayer Sager and Marvin Hamlisch's They're Playing Our Song.
Like what 9 Works Theatrical established for the past years, they chose to stage something way back in the calendar. In my opinion it is a big gamble for them because they don't really know if people will actually go and pay to see classics. But since most competitors are already staging more recent shows, 9 Works humbly stepped down and decides to restage long forgotten masterpieces.
Once again, Like Sweet Charity, They're Playing Our Song surprised me. The show is energetic and extremely funny. Though the rest of music is not really my cup of tea, the book alone captivated my senses. What really draws me to Vernon and Sonia's story is they are not fantasy. Well it is loosely based on the real love story of Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager, it means the romance is real. It is not like any love story you see on romantic movies or novels. The relationship don't follow any status quo. You will only experience pure and unadulterated romance between two person who in my own opinion doesn't have any chemistry at all.
Yes, you heard me right. Chemistry don't exist in real world and that is how I see Vernon and Sonia's relationship. Just like the actors who play them, Nikki Gil (Sonia) and Lorenz Martinez (Vernon) don't have the spark. But both definitely have the comedic chemistry for they both are naturally funny. Nikki had stepped up once again. She now makes her mark as she becomes one of the favorite theater performer that comes from our mainstream showbiz. I definitely enjoyed watching her now as the eccentric Sonia Walsk. Lorenz Martinez as expected makes us laugh with his spontaneous sarcasm but beyond that he proved that he can play a leading man type as he left girls (and some men) swooning over his charming voice as he play Vernon's role.
I enjoyed the performance of the voices played by Reb Atadero, James Stacey, Noel Rayos, Jill Peña, Peachy Atilano and Anna Santamaria. But they are easily overlooked. Not that it is their fault. In fact they gave it all they got. The only problem is the limitations of script.
The only time they actually shine in the show is when they are on this bar scene where they played completely different characters. One of them stands out. Peachy Atilano is definitely ready for matured roles without looking like an underage girl.
And the stage. The magnificent stage. If you think the show is simple and intimate, the set is the complete opposite. The set is bursting with details. All the elements are detachable and can be removed and attach every time they are needed. The stage also used a round table mechanism which is intentionally used to simulate a turntable. Looks like They're Playing Our Song's set is practically more expensive than Rent and Sweet Charity combined. Mio Infante totally outdid himself. This is probably one of his finest yet.
If I have to compare any contemporary to They're Playing our Song. It has to be Music and Lyrics. Like the musical, Music and Lyrics tells a story of a composer and a Writer/Lyricist. Like Sonia and Vernon, Alex (Hugh grant) and Sophie (Drew Barrimore) don't have any chemistry but their is an X-Factor that makes them look good together. Both stories tells a roller coaster relationship that's not so conventional like most stories are.
In a nutshell, They're Playing Our Song will make you fall in Love in an unconventional way. This is not like your average teleserye or "kilig" movie. Experience the romance, watch the show as it closes today at 4pm. Get your tickets at Ticketworld and call 8919999. It is not too late to celebrate Valentines, celebrate it with something real. See you at the theater.