Review: ‘Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag’ the musical

‘MAYNILA SA KUKO NG LIWANAG.’ Aicelle Santos and Floyd Tena in the play by Joel Lamanga. Photo by JT Radovan/Rappler

By JT Radovan/rappler.com – In Manila, there are blue-collar workers risking their lives everyday to earn a decent living, but are subjected to unfair labor practices and remain uncertain of their safety and their future. Human trafficking exists, and women leave their provinces believing that fleeing to the city is their one chance at a better life, only to be driven into prostitution. It is a city filled with poverty and social injustice, where predators subsist on the blood and sweat of unwilling victims. People die and nobody notices; or maybe, nobody cares. These were true in 1975, when the play Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, a film based on Edgardo M. Reyes’ novel, was shown. Over 4 decades have passed and yet, the same societal problems prevail – nothing has changed.

The story is a concrete depiction of the ills of city life. It strikes a chord in the heart of the Filipino as much as it did in the ’70s, when the novel was adapted into a full-length film directed by the Lino Brocka.

Joel Lamangan’s first acting job was in the said film, and he returns to his roots, so to speak, and comes full circle to resurrect a classic for the present day audience.

There are many things to love about Maynila Sa Kuko ng Liwanag, Lamangan’s musical stage adaptation. The opening number fulfils its purpose—to set the tone so the audience understands what the play is about, and to get them hooked and make an impression. Credit goes not only to the actors but also to the ensemble, whose voices and dance moves fuel the number with explosive energy. It’s big, it’s splashy, and deserves thunderous applause.

The choreography is one of the most engaging aspects of the show. It captures your attention, dazzles, and at times even makes your jaw drop. The songs are memorable and on occasion even catchy – take that song where the girls thank Mrs. Cruz for example. Choreography and music – particularly the uptempo ones – are two of the play’s strong points, and rightfully so.

Then there’s the cast and the interesting characters they portray. We’ve mentioned Mrs. Cruz and her girls, who add a pop of color to the scenes they’re part of. Their scenes are a breath of fresh air in the midst of dismal themes and heavy drama. Dulce as a pimp is a hit.

FULL STORY

Find more like this: Arts, Culture

  • The Harvey Weinsteins of the Philippines
  • Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, 86
  • LOOK: New jeepneys under PUV modernization program
  • Malacañang suspends gov’t work, classes on Tuesday, October 17
  • Bitcoin use grows in Philippines, regulators flex muscle
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

    Entertainment

  • Singer from Manila becomes 4th Filipino to enter ‘X Factor UK’
  • Concerts and the Pinoy audience
  • Pinoy producer Jhett Tolentino wins first Grammy
  • Tiny Filipino Taylor Swift Wannabe Wows the Internet With Perfect Performance
  • Jose Mari Chan and the song that made Filipino Christmas
  • MORE...

    Features

  • ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims 23 kilometers for peace in Mindanao
  • Former Pinoy dishwasher now owner of pizzeria in Italy
  • Women’s servitude blights Philippine society
  • Filipino hikers seen picking up litter praised widely by HK netizens
  • ‘Fotobam’ is Pinoy Word of the Year
  • MORE...

    Tourism

  • El Nido to impose daily visitor limits in 3 iconic tourist sites
  • Philippines starts building world’s first resort airport
  • aurumOne Makati Hotel – ‘Perfectly Simple’
  • Palawan is world’s top island; Boracay 12th
  • Philippines waives visa requirements for 7 more countries
  • MORE...

    Sports

  • 75-year-old Pinoy lola sets powerlifting record
  • ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ takes 10-km swim in Southern Leyte
  • Joshua Pacio guns to make history as youngest Pinoy MMA world champ
  • The Filipino divers everyone is making fun of are actually total class acts.
  • Rio 2016: Hidilyn Diaz ends Philippine Olympic medal drought with weightlifting silver
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • Which countries pay OFWs the highest?
  • Are you an OFW? Here are bad spending habits you need to break
  • Pinoy maids in Singapore get $50 salary raise
  • Strong demand seen for Pinoy workers in South Korea
  • MORE...

    Environment

  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • Mindanao plants 3M trees in an hour, challenges world record
  • Fighting for sharks in the Philippines
  • DENR to crush seized elephant tusks, drops ceremonial burning
  • British billionaire promotes solar bulbs
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces