TODAY Review: H Is For Hantu

Hi folks, tickets are still available for H Is for Hantu. It’s really a belly-full of laughs, Jonathan Lim-style. Also, look out for our giant puppets in the show (well, you won’t have to look that hard actually), audiences have really been responding well to them. Catch them while you still can from now till 23 Aug 09 at the Alliance Francaise theatre!

We’ve been getting positive reviews from the press. Here’s an review from TODAY newspaper just released this Monday:


Kampung spirit(s) lives on
by Mayo Martin

H IS For Hantu is about keeping the kampung spirit – or spirits – alive.

But there’s only so much that this inspired piece of supernatural comedy-cum-musical by Stages artistic director Jonathan Lim can do if an audience is reluctant to share that sense of community that it espouses.

It’s not just the bad acoustics and sound mix that Hantu – which I enjoyed, imperfections and all – has going against it. Instead, it’s potentially the spectre of scepticism from an air-conditioned generation far removed from the situation.

For the first time, I was actually contemplating if it would have been better to watch a matinee run. At least children are game enough to clap and sing along, which the musical at times requests from its audience.

Set in a neighbourhood that’s stranger than Avenue Q, the musical is set in Singapore’s other last kampung – the one in the forest behind Kampung Pisang Abadi that’s inhabited by some quirky hantus.

It’s set to make way for HDBs and eager beaver village boy Sazali wants to stop it, with help from his gang of ghosts – including an all-head-and-entrails penanggalang and a hilariously bitchy pontianak with cabaret singer aspirations.

Lim gleefully mines the folklore for its potential gags and puns, connects it to the contemporary, creates a kind of panto-meets-dikir barat hybrid. Such a heartfelt understanding of his imagined milieu made, for me, the deeper issue of the loss of home more credible and meaningful.

Bringing to life Lim’s vision were the performances particularly by Jo Tan as “Cik Pon(tianak)” and Ghazali Muzakir as Sazali, as well as puppet designer Frankie Malachi’s ingenuous creations which proved that even puppets can have great comedic timing.

It was fun watching ghosts come to life. It would’ve been even more fun if the audience didn’t act like zombies.

H Is For Hantu runs until Aug 23, 3pm and 8pm at AGF Theatre, Alliance Francaise de Singapour. Tickets at $30 to $40 from Gatecrash. Advisory: Supernatural Themes.