The Secret Life of Nora

I managed to catch this new musical production by Enfiniti on the 14th...and I'm glad I did because when it was first announced that they would do a musical based on the '60s era and it's regarding spies, all I could think about was James Bond. And I didn't like the James Bond franchise, no matter how hot the actors are...LOL!

But as time passed by, little bits and pieces of promo materials were published by Enfiniti and it got me interested in catching it, so I bought a ticket and didn't regret it =) "The Secret Life Of Nora" (TSLON) is very grand, to say the expense is spared on the stage sets, props and costumes to make the experience memorable. And while there are misses every now and then, I would say TSLON is quite a cool production....Kudos to Enfiniti for their hard work!

TSLON tells the story of Nora (played by Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina), a showgirl who is being recruited as a female spy to infiltrate a new entertainment company run by a Mr. J (played by Aznil Nawawi). She is trained by a renowned female spy trainer, Roger Foss (played by Ryan Silverman) and as the story goes, she goes into the 'spy scene' in just a matter of 3 weeks. Did she succeed? Well, you'd have to watch it to enjoy the whole experience yourself *wink*

Most of the main cast in TSLON
Loved the cast in TSLON....Tiara Jacquelina is GORGEOUS (as always) and she fits the role  of Nora very well. Watch out for the scene where she undergoes training with Roger...her expressions of being overwhelmed followed by her enthusiasm in the training is awesome to watch! Ryan Silverman as Roger Foss is also spot on! When he first appears on stage, audible gasps can be heard around me as he cuts a really dashing figure in a shiny and glamorous suit *wink*

But, the show won't be a success without the help of the AMAZING supporting cast =) Special mention should be made to Adibah Noor (oh gosh, I love her acting!) for her turn as Khatijah, Nora's best friend / manager...her witty comebacks and one-liners are just hilarious with her fun character!

Amazing stage set!
The other aspect that I love about the musical is the stage sets! As I said before, no expense was spared, so there's the cool, gadget-filled Agent Farouk's(played by Tony Eusoff...also spectacular in his turn!) home, the pretty setting of Nora's changing room, as well as the over-the-top-but-oh-so-amazing set of Mr. J's building...all this put up on their main stage prop thingy which on the outside, looks like the frame that they use in construction sites, but flip it over and you get a different scene. Flip another side over, there's yet another setting! Genius! 

Betty sings her pretty!
What's a musical without us talking about the songs right? For TSLON, there are mostly original songs written for the musical. While some songs are really lovely (my favorite was Betty's solo), it kinda feels like they're not that memorable enough. Probably it's because the songs are too 'diverse' with most musicals I've seen, the songs become memorable because they are often kinda similar in tone / melodies throughout the show. If I had to compare (which I do!), PGLM  follows this musical 'formula' for songs, and they really do work to create memorable songs that stick in your head after the show! With TSLON however, it felt like they were trying to fit in so many things together that the songs don't really gel with each other. Some of the songs' lyrics are also so jam-packed it's hard to pick up what they're trying to sing about in the song!

Another thing that I find that's a little jarring is the singing...while I loved the supporting casts' voices (especially Stephanie van Driesen, who plays Betty...her velvety voice is so soothing and beautiful!), I can't help but say this: me thinks Tiara's voice as the lead leaves much to be desired. While she can sing, her range and depth doesn't seem to measure up to her co-stars, especially since she's the lead and she sings quite a lot through out the show. Pity really =( Also, I feel that Ryan Silverman's voice and range are not utilized as much as they should. The songs which he sang in doesn't really showcase his strong voice =( 

Mr. J and Nora in a scene...quite hilarious!
Character development for some of the characters (like Betty or even Mr. J) did not happen too...which is a little disappointing as I find their characters pretty interesting. Also, I felt that Act 2 was a little too rushed in the pace....the pace was so good for Act 1 where they took the time to introduce the characters and all, but as they moved on to Act 2, it somehow felt like they realized they have run out of time, so let's just patch things up quickly. Throw in some big fireworks, big bangs, and voila! Unfortunately, that didn't quite do it for me...

Yes, I guess I've probably mentioned too many cons compared to pros here, but all in all I DID really enjoy the musical. There were many laughs to be had, especially from Mr. J - the OTT villain who is also adorable with his funny lisp - and Khatijah; many grand scenes that take your breath away; and even a magic trick or two up the actors' sleeves!

For a local production, it is great to see that there are so many talented people and the arts industry in Malaysia is slowly emerging and polishing itself to be the best it can be. As grandiose as it was, there is definitely still room for improvement....=) Good job though to Enfiniti for venturing out and bringing some original stories and flair to the local scene!

They are extending the shows from 20th - 22nd, so if you can still score some tickets, do go catch it! It's quite fun, especially if you've not seen a musical before =)

Photo credits: Enfiniti Vision Media
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