From the outset, Ben (Red Concepcion) is doing well. He is a writer. He has a fiancee (Gabriela Pangilinan) and baby on the way. He is neurotic, but only in so far as writers are neurotic. He is struggling to write his next book. He feels trapped by his perfectly pleasant life. He wants more. He befriends a man (Myke Solomon) at the park who unlocks a world of fantasy within him. Then, things start to spiral…
Red Concepcion as the lead, carried the show well. He was especially noteworthy in the show’s second act, as Ben starts to come undone. Gabriela Pangilinan is just as excellent as Ben’s long-suffering partner, Annie. Both of them were able to deliver the emotions required of them by each song and scene.
The true star of the show, however, is the music. Reminiscent of Off-Broadway rock musicals, it’s not difficult to walk out of the theater with one or two songs stuck in your head. The composition and arrangement added an extra level of depth and drama to the story. The musical’s climax, in particular, was an example of how the show’s strongest elements–music, sound effects, lighting, and even the bare stage–worked extremely well to deliver a heightened, tense, and truly memorable number.
The stage direction was inventive, where movement played just as big a part as dialogue in telling the story. The denouement could be better, but overall, Friction is a highly entertaining piece where the plot’s twists and turns make for a fun ride.
F(R)ICTION: A NEW MUSICAL
DIRECTED by Toff De Venecia; BOOK by Bym Buhain & Miyo Sta. Maria; MUSIC & LYRICS by Ejay Yatco; STARRING Red Concepcion, Gab Pangilinan, and Myke Solomon. Running February 17, 19, 27, and March 1 at Black Box Theater, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts.