How did the ‘Ah Boys’ from the well-loved franchise fared in their first ever musical debut?
Lots of doubts was casted on FLY Entertainment head honcho Irene Ang’s “insane” decision to remake Jack Neo’s two-part Ah Boys to Men movie series into a musical production, when it was announced late last year. Even the main ‘Ah Boys’ crew (consisting of Tosh Zhang, Wang Weiliang, Noah Yap and Maxi Lim) did not take to the idea initially, according to Jack, at the musical’s gala premiere on Wednesday night. They ganged up against him, rejected the idea and said they “cannot do” singing and dancing.
For the past few months, they trained hard, said Jack, really hard. Together with other cast members like Benjamin Kheng (from local band The Sam Willows), Patricia Mok, Richard Low and Dennis Chew, they underwent a rigorous training regime consisting of vocal classes, choreography sessions and plenty of full-dress rehearsals. But it was a worthwhile endeavour, and their months of hard work paid off.
A close to three-hour-long song and dance production produced by Running into the Sun, the different acts in the musical closely follow the events featured in the movie. Its familiar storyline is both a boon and a bane, and the musical felt slow-moving during certain performances. But before it lapsed into a monotonous drone, it quickly picked itself up again – with the help of copious amount of local humour introduced in its reworked musical script, which is another standout element found in this production.
Witty and modern, it is appropriately peppered with plenty of colloquial terms (read: Singlish) bound to tickle the true blue Singaporean in you. Also heavily padded with self-deprecating insinuations on local events and characters (like recruit Ken Chow’s K-Pop lovin’ younger sister, Tata Chow), it’s a completely different rendition of the Ah Boys to Men movies and one that you’ll come to appreciate.
Cookie cutter project it is not: the musical stands strongly on its own for its script, catchy tunes like ‘Life is Beautiful’, ‘Cheong or Geng,’ and entertaining Hokkien-mix-Singlish dialogue that would definitely go down well with the local crowd.
Read on to find out our five favourite scene-stealing performers from this musical. You’ll be surprised - the Ah Boys can not only act, some of them can dance, sing, and hold a note for a VERY long time.