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Magical musical

By: Andy Brouwer Posted: August-10-2010 in
Two monks from at Wat Tang Krosang offer blessings before the show begins
Andy Brouwer

Bringing her musical to the stage in Cambodia has taken more than a decade for British composer Sarah O'Brien. Winds of Angkor was originally inspired by letters between prisoners of the Khmer Rouge and years of planning and considerable efforts by Sarah and her team came to fruition with a performance of the musical's highlights at Chaktomuk Theatre Sunday night. This was a unique occasion for Cambodian music and theatre lovers and the idea is to put on a full-scale production of the musical in Cambodia early next year.

Sunday night, even though the cast sang no less than a dozen numbers, was just a preview. And what a preview it turned out to be. Sarah introduced the show to the packed house and unleashed the international cast to run through the song-list with Jessica Pennington and Roberto Perlas Gomez kicking it off, followed by solo spots for Jean-Baptiste Phou and Amara Chhin-Lawrence, and a quite literally stunning solo by Jessica that made Palaces and Princes the real show-stopper for me.

The magical Belle gave her contemporary interpretation to one of the songs, brilliantly as ever, whilst the children from Seametrey children's village joined the rest of the cast to bring the show to a close. Musical theatre is new to Cambodia and the entertainment factor mixed with the message of love and hope, might take some getting used to for a Khmer audience, though my friends Rumnea and Now loved it so that's a good start. I loved it too and can't wait for the full production to come back sometime next year.

Republished with the kind permission of Andy Brouwer

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