I Have a Date with Spring is a Malaysian musical based on a play by Raymond To Kwok Wai and the film adaptation of the same name. The musical was charming in parts but a little cheesy in others, which I suspect would not be considered a criticism by the musical’s creators.
The musical was a series of flashbacks of a night in 1967 at the Flower Palace Nightclub in Malaysia. On the night of the Hong Kong Leftist Riots, Butterfly Yiu’s (played beautifully by Tan Soo Suan) career was launched when she was given the chance to perform the final show when star performer Pak Long was stranded at another venue. The musical details the lives of the four women who worked together at the Flower Palace and the ways their lives connected and changed over the years. Along with Butterfly there was the beautiful Lulu Kim, the feisty Nancy Hong and the unlucky-in-love Feng Ping.
I Have A Date With Spring featured popular Chinese songs as well as English songs such as As Time Goes By and Kiss Me Honey Honey, Kiss Me. Tan Soo Suan had the strongest vocals but all the singers were on pitch and admirable performers. I found it a little distracting to follow the English surtitles and still be able to concentrate on what was happening onstage but that couldn’t be helped.
The funniest parts involved the character Yuen Pik, who was teased for her fake ‘assets’ and diva-like behaviour. Karl Sum, played by Steven Yapp, who has been described as a Malaysian Brad Pitt, was Butterfly’s love interest and had lovely vocals but there didn’t seem to be much genuine chemistry between them.
The set design was cleverly constructed, with the old building converted back into its former glory throughout the show, with a few quick changes in lighting and the band appearing behind the old changing room mirror. Malaysia's Dama Orchestra provided beautiful live music and I found myself wishing we’d heard more from them.
The acting was a little stilted and amateurish at times and there were a few scenes that dragged but it was still an enjoyable show and I can see how it would be particularly popular with karaoke-lovers.
I Have A Date With Spring - The Musical
A Musical Adaptation of a play by Raymond To Kwok Wai
Venue: His Majesty's Theatre, 825 Hay St, Perth
Dates: Friday 12 to Saturday 13 March 2010
Bookings: 9484 1133 | bocsticketing.com.au | in person at any BOCS Ticketing outlet
Please note: In Cantonese with English & Mandarin Surtitles