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BWW Reviews: SA WAKAS, The Story of Us

Manila, Philippines, April 22, 2013 -- "Sa Wakas" has garnered mostly rave reviews since the new Filipino musical opened at PETA-PHINMA Theater two weeks ago. After finally catching the show last weekend, we were glad to see that it isn't all hype. "Sa Wakas" is the type of show you will tell your friends about because you want to share something special with them. It is the type of show you would want people to see because they may have walked the same path once similar to one of the characters. Seeing it onstage also calls to mind gut wrenching conversations you may have had over a few rounds of beer.

Told backwards, "Sa Wakas," featuring music and lyrics by alternative rock band Sugarfree and book by Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan and Mariane Abuan, is a painful recollection of a journey. As audience members, you feel every bit of the pain because you know how the story will end.

Bringing to the surface the subtle nuances of a relationship that is about to end, the play forces the audience to reassess their own relationships, their own lives. From the heartbreaking opening act to its consummately executed conclusion, "Sa Wakas" truly understands the way people are when confronted by love, life, and the search for true identity that sometimes comes at the cost of the people you care about the most.

Up to the task of delivering this bittersweet story are Fred Lo as Topper, a struggling photographer whose indecisiveness in life becomes the central point of the story; Caisa Borromeo as the career-oriented Lexi, Topper's longtime partner that is always worried about her future with him; and Kyla Rivera as Gabbi, Topper's kindred spirit that shares his passion for art and life, and eventually his bed.

While unconvincing in some parts where Topper's inconsolable sadness needs to come across, Lo embodies the defiance and charm of his character. Borromeo and Rivera, on the other hand, strip away the artificial representation often seen onstage, and deliver only "organic," effective performances.

Above all else, there are the songs of Sugarfree that persuasively tell these intertwined love stories, and that magnify every unexpected feeling that subtly creeps up on the audience. The live band onstage plays the music too loud, drowning out some of conversations between the lead characters. However, Sugarfree's music transcends, and involves the audience to dig deeper into this one thing often left unexamined -- ourselves.

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From This Author - Dale Bacar

Dale Bacar studied film and audio-visual communication at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He maintains a review and entertainment blog mainly focused on (read more...)