Lov­ing the stage

Yet again, Stephen rah­man-Hughes made de­wan Fil­har­monik Petronas his mu­si­cal play­ground.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By TERENCE TOH en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

IF mu­sic be the food of love, then play on,” the wise play­wright Shakespeare once said.

And mu­sic lovers were re­cently treated to a ver­i­ta­ble ban­quet of mu­sic and ro­mance with In The Mood For Love, a de­light­ful fu­sion combo of snazzy show­tunes and grand or­ches­tral mu­sic.

Fea­tur­ing the vo­cals of renowned West End per­former Stephen Rah­man-Hughes, and backed up by the dis­tin­guished Malaysian Phil­har­monic Orches­tra con­ducted by Ju­lian Bigg, the con­cert was an ab­so­lute joy from be­gin­ning to end.

Tak­ing place at De­wan Fil­har­monik Petronas (DFP), KLCC last weekend, In The Mood For Love was a trib­ute to the power of love and fea­tured a wide va­ri­ety of songs cel­e­brat­ing love in its many forms and guises.

And who bet­ter to per­form th­ese songs than this Bri­tish-born singer, ac­tor and chore­og­ra­pher?

Lo­cal mu­si­cal the­atre lovers are no doubt fa­mil­iar with Rah­man-Hughes’ name. Among other achieve­ments, he played the lead role in the 2006 stag­ing of Pu­teri Gu­nung Ledang The Mu­si­cal, and the 2011 film Hikayat Merong Ma­hawangsa.

He has also ap­peared in stage pro­duc­tions such as West Side Story and The Coun­try Wife, and re­leased a self-ti­tled Malay solo al­bum in 2011.

Back in 2010, he head­lined his first solo lo­cal con­cert, Show­stop­pers at DFP, singing a se­lec­tion of Broad­way hits.

Last Satur­day night, Rah­man-Hughes looked at home on the DFP stage. Ap­pear­ing suave in a suit and tie, the singer wowed with his beau­ti­ful voice, de­liv­er­ing won­der­ful per­for­mances of pop­u­lar songs, in­clud­ing Na­ture Boy, Some En­chanted Evening and Don’t Rain On My Pa­rade.

Rah­man-Hughes proved to be charm­ing on stage, de­liv­er­ing oc­ca­sional anec­dotes and quips in be­tween songs.

“I’m half Welsh and half Asian, so I’m WelAsian,” he joked at one point. “Peo­ple look at me on stage, and go, oh he’s WELL ASIAN!”

One of the high­lights of the show was his per­for­mance of the Right­eous Brothers’ Un­chained Melody.

“This is one of my favourite love songs,” said Rah­man-Hughes. “I hope you en­joy it as much as I en­joy singing it.”

Also en­joy­able was The Jour­ney Home from An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s mu­si­cal Bom­bay Dreams, where Rah­man-Hughes had pre­vi­ously played the lead char­ac­ter Akaash.

He also swayed and shim­mied dur­ing a spir­ited per­for­mance of Michael Bu­ble’s It Had Bet­ter Be Tonight, mov­ing into the au­di­ence and even singing to a few of them.

“I thought you’d en­joy that one,” the singer joked. “That’s the only danc­ing I’ll do tonight!”

Rah­man-Hughes also per­formed a stir­ring ren­di­tion of Si­mon and Gar­funkel’s Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ter, ac­com­pa­nied by lo­cal pian­ist Michael Veer­ap­pan.

Rah­man-Hughes’s soar­ing vo­cals were per­fectly com­ple­mented by the Malaysian Phil­har­monic Orches­tra, which per­formed with pas­sion and skill.

While the orches­tra backed Rah­manHughes on all his songs, it also per­formed a few num­bers on its own, im­press­ing with lovely ren­di­tions of The Death of Fal­staff and Touch Her Soft Lips And Part, both move­ments from the Suite For Henry V.

Con­duc­tor Bigg also pro­vided many of the evening’s laughs, re­gal­ing the au­di­ence with hi­lar­i­ous anec­dotes, such as the time he was “snogged” by com­poser Leonard Bern­stein. At one point, a mo­bile phone rang from the orches­tra pit. “If that’s my mum, tell her I’m busy,” he quipped, re­sult­ing in laugh­ter and ap­plause.

Over­all, In The Mood For Love, proved to be that sort of per­son­able per­for­mance. Add the toe-tap­ping, fin­ger-snap­ping for a heart­warm­ing show.

renowned per­former Stephen rah­man-Hughes treated the de­wan Fil­har­monik Petronas crowd to a ver­i­ta­ble ban­quet of mu­sic and ro­mance with the In­theMoodForLove con­cert.

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