Bouts Of Oomph On Stage

15 May

P. Ramlee, The Musical directors (from left) Adlin Aman Ramlie and Zahim Albakri with choreographer Pat Ibrahim accepting their award.
P. Ramlee, The Musical directors (from left) Adlin Aman Ramlie and Zahim Albakri with choreographer Pat Ibrahim accepting their award.

There was no surprise as regards the performance which garnered the most number of trophies at the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2007 held recently. KHAIRUL ANWAR MOHAMED, however, feels grateful to the lively folk on stage that night for making the long ceremony seem less tedious.

The Musical
Maria Yasmin won Best Solo Performance (Voice) for her role in Tunku: The Musical

LAST Sunday night was filled with glitz, glamour and excitement as local theatre superstars, wannabees and everybody in between descended upon the Mandarin Oriental for the 6th Annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards in Kuala Lumpur.

Almost everyone there was in exquisite suits, dresses or costumes. Catwoman paraded on the arm of a smartly dressed gentleman, one woman was in a flowing white gown suggesting a bridal gown were it not for the plastic katana (Japanese sword) on her back.

The main thing is, I was underdressed. I was advised to maintain “journalistic integrity” by not conforming to the party theme.

To break the ice, I chatted with theatre director Zalfian Fuzi, who introduced me to industry veterans such as Chacko Vadaketh and also to relatively new talents such as Soefira Jaafar, already a three-time winner of the awards.

Susie Kukathas, executive producer of Instant Cafe Theatre, also a judge in the Theatre Category, explained the judging process “done by computer ballot”.

“We watch the shows, then individually, we put in our personal scores. The data is collated by PriceWaterhouse Coopers and we’ll only find out who wins tonight.”

Pang Khee Teik, director of The Annexe Arts Centre, who was dressed in a faded Aquaman T-shirt, I felt better about my simple garb was one of the original masterminds of the Arts Awards. In Susie’s words: “He is the source”.

So what are the awards about? Seeing how small the local arts scene is, what’s the purpose of an awards show?

“It’s very simple, I always believe that awards make it possible to acknowledge people whose works have not been acknowledged in Malaysia. But I’m also aware that awards are not the be-all and end-all of any art.

Pang continued: “It’s only been five years, but I can tell you, in five years’ time, those people who started out reacting negatively towards the awards will end up winning some because they have successfully evolved within the industry.”

At the start of the show, the audience was treated to a rendition of Gelora, taken from P. Ramlee the Musical, sung by Sean Ghazi and Liza Hanim.

Hosts Shanon Shah and Angel Wong got the crowd laughing with an intelligent script in English, Malay, Tamil, Cantonese and Hokkien. They poked fun at Malaysian politics and pop cultural icons.

If it were not for the combined effects of the witty prize-givers, technical complications (with humorous results) and the lovely trophy bearer (Jessica Ho) who catwalked on and off stage with the crystal award trophies, the event might have made even a guy like me want to leave early.

Towards the end the show, momentum picked up – choreographer Pat Ibrahim danced across the stage to present an award. The show ended with the announcement of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Professor Ghulam Sarwar Yousof for his contributions to Malaysian art and literature.

Over the course of the night, many productions won awards in the categories of Dance, Music and Theatre.

What was predictable was P. Ramlee the Musical’s big win. It bagged five awards, including Best Director, Best Set Design, Best Music & Sound Design, and, the Kakiseni Audience choice awards.

The other big winners that night were Alih PungGONG, which won four awards in the Music category, and Hiding Love with three wins in the Dance category.


1. Best Featured Performer: Steve Goh for Hiding Love (presented by Kwang Tung Dance Troupe)

2. Best Choreographer in a Mixed Bill: Steve Goh for Falling Angel in 30.40 (MMY Production)

3. Best Choreographer in a Feature-length Work: Steve Goh for Hiding Love

4. Best Group Performance: Hiding Love

5. Best Lighting Design: Sivarajah Natarajan for Storming Destiny (Sutra Dance Theatre)

6. Best Design: Loi Chin Yu for In The Mist of Love (Charlie Tan Dance Theatre)

7. Best Music & Sound Design: Syarizan Sahamat for Asyik (ASWARA)

8. Best Costume Design: Tanjai Kamala Indira Dance School for Kalki’s Spectacular Sivagamiyin Sabatham (Tanjai Kamala Indira Dance School)


1. Best Group Performance (Instrumental): Alih PungGONG by Rhythm in Bronze

2. Best Group Performance (Voice): Frogway by Surprise Voice

3. Best Musical Direction: Jillian Ooi and Susan Sarah John for Alih PungGONG

4. Best Original Composition: Jillian Ooi for Runtuh in Alih PungGONG

5. Best Production Values: Alih PungGONG by Rhythm in Bronze

6. Best Solo Performance (Instrumental): Prakash Kandasamy for Jumpstart (musical direction by Jyotsna Nithyanandan, presented by Inner Space Performing Arts Company)

7. Best Solo Performance (Voice): Maria Yasmin for Tunku The Musical (The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre)


1. Best Group Performance: Dua, Tiga Dalang Berlari (Five Arts Centre)

2. Best Director: Adlin Aman Ramlie and Zahim Albakri for P. Ramlee, The Musical (Enfiniti Productions)

3. Best Lighting Design: Loh Kok Man for The Lost & The Ecliptic (Pentas Project & The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre)

4. Best Set Design: Raja Maliq for P. Ramlee, The Musical

5. Best Music and Sound Design: Dick Lee, Erwin Gutawa and Larry Mignogna for P. Ramlee, The Musical

6. Best Costume Design: Berg Lee for Little Mission Impossible (Integrated Expressions)

7. Best Actor in a Leading Role: Joe Hasham for Eh Joe in Electric Beckett (presented by The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre)

8. Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Melissa Saila for P. Ramlee, The Musical

9. Best Original Script (Bahasa Malaysia): Adlin Aman Ramlie and Al-Jafree Md. Yusop for P. Ramlee, The Musical

10. Best Original Script (English): Ann Lee for Tarap Man (Kuali Works & Dramalab)

11. Best Original Script (Chinese): no nominees for this award this year

Special awards:

*Most Promising Artiste: Brian Tan (musician)

*Champion of the Arts Award: Joseph Gonzales (educationist, dancer, choreographer)

*Audience Choice Award (Dance): Asyik (Aswara)

*Audience Choice Award (Music): Move It! YKLS Celebrates 5 Years of Music (The Young KL Singers)

*Audience Choice Award (Theatre): P. Ramlee, The Musical

*Lifetime Achievement Award: Prof Dr Ghulam Sarwar Yousof (scholar)


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