Manila, Philippines, July 19, 2012 – Local theatregoers can still catch Atlantis Productions and Singapore Repertory Theatre's joint production of Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning play "God of Carnage," starring Tony winner Lea Salonga, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Adrian Pang, and Art Acuña, on Saturday, July 21 at 2 and 8 p.m., and on Sunday, July 22 at 3 and 8 p.m. (Friday, July 20 show is sold out) at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati City – unless you would rather travel to Singapore in November in time for the show's run at the DBS Arts Centre.
In the meantime, let us check out some review excerpts that the production has garnered since it opened on July 13.
Vladimir Bunoan, AbsCbnNews.com: In "God of Carnage," which opened last Friday at the RCBC Plaza in Makati, Salonga made a very bold move by taking on a play that has a total disregard of facades. And it's not just about hearing her utter profanities, which, on the surface, seems contrary to her well-guarded image as a role model and cultural icon, which she achieved at such a young age.
What is more unsettling is that Salonga (Veronica) is playing a character with almost exactly the same attributes as her -- a perfectionist wife and mother who's into the arts (she's a writer), has an expansive world view and takes up worthy causes such as the war in Darfur -- which playwright Yasmina Reza then dismisses as mere pomposity, as arrogance…
The theater company Atlantis Productions and its director Bobby Garcia, too, were just as audacious in mounting "God of Carnage." More known for audience-friendly musicals and showbiz casting, Atlantis rarely presents straight plays (one such foray, "Proof," also starred Salonga). And then it chooses a play that skewers the educated, middle- to upper-class, which comprises its core audience.
M.C. Jose, ClickTheCity.com: Because this is a one-act play with no intermissions, "God of Carnage" made use of a singular set (designed by Lawyn Cruz) with no changes in costume and very few changes in terms of props. This draws the audience away from the technicalities and more towards the characters and the script, which, might I say, is truly spectacular. You don't have to listen too hard for the humor and the underlying hidden meanings; the actors deliver each and every word crisply, clearly and with believable emotion. I love how each and every element in the script served its purpose; mundane things like Veronica's books, Michael's mother's medicines and a seemingly insignificant pet hamster all contribute to further ironing out the main plot.
Yvette Fernandez, Spot.ph: Tony Award-winning actress (for "Miss Saigon") Lea Salonga has indeed blossomed into a mature actress, proving that musical theater is not her only forte. And the crisp four-letter profanities that her character spews out throughout the show are a definite departure from her trademark sweet-faced innocent girl roles that she's played for the last twenty years.
Menchu Lauchengco, who, as a bipolar mother in last year's Atlantis production of "Next to Normal" reduced her audience to tears night after night, once again proves herself to be the multi-faceted actor that she is, vomiting from a panic attack, and then later having an alcohol-laced meltdown.
Singaporean actor Adrian Pang returns to the Philippine stage 12 years after he starred with Lea Salonga in the Singapore Repertory Theater production of the musical "They're Playing Our Song." As a hamster-murdering father, he at least redeems himself by his concern for his ailing mother.
The easiest to detest of the group is Art Acuna, who plays a stereotypical, sleazy corporate lawyer defending a large pharmaceutical firm. He is annoying to watch, and at the same time, quite funny too.
Antonio Siegfrid O. Alegado, BusinessWorld: Despite having noteworthy moments, Mr. Acuña's portrayal of Alan, a lawyer constantly on his mobile phone, paled in comparison to the other cast members. He did deliver a flawless performance, but failed to be memorable. He could learn a thing or two on this from his co-actors.