Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On MULA SA BUWAN; Show Runs Now Thru 11/25

Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On MULA SA BUWAN; Show Runs Now Thru 11/25Manila, Philippines--"Mula Sa Buwan," the original Filipino musical, based on the Edmond Rostand play "Cyrano de Bergerac," written by Pat Valera (concept, book, and lyrics) and William Manzano (lyrics and music), returns for a third time, now through November 25, 2018, at the brand new 800-seater theatre at the Hyundai Hall, Arete at Ateneo de Manila University. Get tickets from Ticket2Me.net.

Beyond the retelling of "Cyrano de Bergerac's" quintessential love triangle, "Mula Sa Buwan" offers a new and gripping take: set in 1940's Manila on the cusp of war, Cyrano, Christian, Roxane and their merry troupe of cadets and friends fight for their love--as they fight for their lives. Through the perils and pitfalls of war, the young Filipinos try to find rhyme and reason to carry on in the midst of conflict and duty.

Nicco Manalo and Boo Gabunada once again don the iconic nose and nuance of poet-cadet Cyrano, while Edward Beñosa returns as the handsome yet bumbling Christian.

Joining the lead cast is Myke Salomon who alternates with Beñosa as Christian. Also, theater actress Gab Pangilinan and opera singer Cris Go alternate as the wily, feisty, and beloved Roxane.

Let's see what the critics are saying:

Jeeves de Veyra, News.ABS-CBN.com: The music crosses genres as I heard songs that reminded me of Pinoy rock 'n' roll and blues, to even opera and kundiman. What I really liked was the cinematic use of music. Besides the songs, there was a score that elevated certain scenes. Of note was the bluesy harmonica solo that opened the second act and that lonely piano piece playing during Cyrano's goodbye that somehow changed to discordant banging on the keyboards to denote, pain, loss, and what-could-have-beens. They will be releasing a cast recording soon and I will be in line to buy it.

Iñigo de Paula, Rappler.com: At times, the production leans heavily towards bombast and spectacle; the larger scenes with the entire chorus onstage are meant to show both the cadets' panache and Cyrano's gift for words. But Cyrano himself is not a bombastic character. Mula Sa Buwan is at its strongest when quietly examining the relationship between Cyrano and Roxane--or specifically, Cyrano's pining for Roxane...

Mula Sa Buwan is really about consequence, of pieces falling apart, and how people put their lives back together.

Gian Nicdao, PhilStar.com: Leading this powerhouse company is Nicco Manalo as Cyrano. Having played Cyrano since 2010, watching him is like a master class in performing. His Cyrano is a fully realized portrayal of a man whose love for his cadets, his country, and Roxane, powers him through even if it hurts. His nuanced performance--paired with the gorgeous prose and music by Pat Valera and William Elvin Manzano--will move you. In his last monologue, Cyrano's heartbreak is so palpable you can almost touch it--and once the tears fall down your face, you know you were able to.

Jovi Figueroa, Metro.Style: Throughout the musical, Pat Valero tugs us to a world of playfulness and joviality. And true to the spirit of Zarzuela, we meet a band of jolly bards headed by Cyrano singing and dancing to merry tunes to tell their tales. There are songs that highlight the marriage of traditional kundiman and contemporary pop rock, in contrast with the goosebumps-inducing Manifesto, an anthemic song of identity and resistance. Ballads also litter the play, with love songs and hymns of secret love and love lost.

Photo: I.R. Arenas

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