Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Addams Family: A New Musical

The Addams FamilyThe Addams Family – Do you still remember them? Looking back, I think it’s already more than a decade since I’ve last watched the cartoon TV show. I couldn’t remember the cartoon’s storylines, but I vividly remember how the family looks like and most especially their addicting and upbeat theme song. Thus, when my boyfriend and I found out that Atlantis Productions will produce a musical show of The Addams Family, we didn’t hesitate to buy tickets as soon as they became available.

Here’s what the show is about:

The Addams Family features an original story, and it’s every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met.

And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomes Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Mortricia.

Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.

Right at the beginning, the show already grabbed my full attention. The catchy introduction and the appearance of the whole Addams family members immediately put a smile on my face. They’re just exactly what I remembered from the cartoon. Seeing them once again is nostalgic enough to wish to relive my childhood memories.

The Addams Family Cast

The Addamses are described as one bunch of bizarre family and they certainly emit a dark, sinister atmosphere that will doubt one’s intention to befriend them; more so as they live in a massive, creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere. But this show isn’t about their house or their everyday lifestyles. This is about Wednesday Addams’ confession to her father about her engagement with Lucas Beineke and how the father should keep it a secret from her mother. More interesting things will happen as the Addamses invited the Beinekes for a dinner.

Talk about awkwardness. Witnessing the situation Lucas and Wednesday are in, I could definitely understand their firm instructions to their family to act “normal”. While the Addamses have their own bizarre personalities, the audience could also see that the Beinekes aren’t that far from being peculiar as well, especially Lucas’ mother. But this doesn’t just happen in musical plays or movies, as this meet-the-parents stage also happens in real life and is experienced by the majority. I guess this makes the musical more enjoyable to watch. The audience could definitely relate to Lucas and Wednesday, as well as to the people surrounding them with regards to how each member of the family handles and reacts to the situation.

As much as the Addams family is peculiar and seems to be living in their own version of the world, they’re still like any other families we meet. Aside from young love, I love how the show is able to represent the ideal concept of family in them. The Addamses may not be perfect, but their value in familial relationship is given importance. They’re honest and open with their feelings which prove to be one of the significant factors to build a relationship stronger – from the husband and wife to the parent and daughters/sons relationships. Who would’ve thought that they could unexpectedly change the lives of the Beinekes for the better as well?

All I can say is that I’m deeply impressed with this musical. Throughout the show, I’m mesmerized by the performance. The show is well executed and the talented cast members are just perfect for their roles. Seated near the stage, I could see the cast’s vibrant expressions, evident that they know their characters well. They have successfully demonstrated the unique personalities of each member of the Addams and Beineke families.

I am also equally impressed with the choreography, make-up, props, and costumes made for this musical show. The production team undoubtedly captures the essence of the show. This is definitely a great place to let our imaginations run wild. Watching The Addams Family makes me feel like I’m transported into another world. The cast absolutely deliver their dialogues well and sing and dance amazingly. The live orchestra just proves to be just as talented as well.

Two-thumbs up for the show and for everyone who took part in this production! I’m highly entertained and amazed with the outcome of the musical. It’s unexpectedly witty, reflective, and humorous. It’s heartwarming to even hear children in the audience laughing with us. I could watch it again and again without any hint of hesitation. Shows like this will definitely uplift the Philippines’ theater industry to the global stage.

Main Cast: Arnel Ignacio as Gomez Addams; Eula Valdez as Mortricia Addams; Kayla Rivera as Wednesday Addams; Ryan Gallagher as Lucas Beineke; Jamie Wilson as Uncle Fester; Jimmy Marquez as Grandma; Calvin Millado as Mal Beineke; Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Alice Beineke; Ikey Canoy as Lurch; Anton Posadas as Pugsley Addams

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Welcome to Envy Park by Mina V. Esguerra

I was looking forward to Mina’s new book, so when she announced that Welcome to Envy Park was available for pre-order, I immediately reserved and ordered a paperback copy directly from her. Once the book became available, she was kind enough to send me a copy right away.

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

Welcome to Envy Park coverMoira Vasquez is a doer. A planner. A get-up-and-goer. At twenty-two, she left her hometown to work in Singapore, to satisfy a need to travel as well as give her savings account a boost. Five years later and she’s back in Manila, with a shiny new apartment to her name, but no job, no career, no boyfriend. She meets Ethan Lorenzo, the quiet hunk of an IT consultant on the ninth floor of her condo building, and he’s a welcome distraction during this period of having absolutely nothing going on in her life.

But she has a plan – of course she does – and this is just a short layover on the way to the next country, the next job, the next big thing. Or will she be missing out on something great that’s already there?

The story introduces us to Moira, a mid-twenties lady, who returned to her home country with no job. She buys a condo unit in NV Park as she temporarily enjoys her unemployment phase before looking for another job in a foreign country. There, at NV Park, she meets a number of people that might possibly change her view in life.

The characterization of Moira strikes me as different. Her obsessive-compulsiveness isn’t exactly what I read in other books. While I’m more familiar with people being so neat and organized in their day-to-day activities as their way to show OC-ness, Moira, on the other hand, demonstrates something more serious. Moira takes it to a higher level as she plans out and controls her life the way she wants it to be – and stick to it through and through. It’s also amazing to see that she’s good at analyzing people she encounters. The use of matrices in the book definitely helps in summarizing the minor characters’ personalities, lifestyles, and behaviors.

The book evidently centers on Moira’s life and illustrates in detail what she does during her leisure time. I may not relate to her as we differ in personalities, but it’s quite fun to read about characters having worked abroad. And as Moira meets some of the people in her condo, it’s like I get to have a small glimpse of their lives as well. However, the lack of characterization in the minor characters left me hanging. I was expecting to get some closure about them and their lives, but it doesn’t happen and this disappoints me a bit. I would’ve wanted to find out more about them.

There are times when I get confused with Moira’s actions and thoughts; perhaps it’s due to her self-denial of what Roxie states at one point that could possibly ring some truth in it. Welcome to Envy Park is definitely more than just about looking for jobs. Mina V. Esguerra certainly succeeds in combining a perfect mixture of themes about self-discovery and romance. As a secondary character, Ethan is someone I would want to read more about. His relationship with Moira perfectly portrays that opposite attracts.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, but not to the extent I expected it to be. I guess I’m more interested in books that focus more on contemporary romance. Either way, this is a light, fun read.


The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

There was a time when bloggers have been raving about this book. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to buy a copy at first, as there was nothing too extraordinary about the premise of the story. But seeing the ratings and reviews of the bloggers for this book, it convinced me enough to buy a copy. And boy, did I make the right decision!

Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:

The Distance Between Us coverMoney can’t buy a good first impression.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom’s porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander’s loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?

As you can see, The Distance Between Us centers on a theme that’s already prevalent in reality. I’m not new to the situation presented by the story and maybe that’s why I can easily relate to both protagonists and understand their thoughts and feelings. However, despite the familiarity, I’m quite surprised to find myself drawn into the story right at the beginning.

Caymen is raised up by her single mother and allotted most of her time helping her mother at the porcelain-doll shop. This is actually the first time I encounter a story with a doll shop in it. As much as I’m fond of (cute) dolls and admire them from afar, the idea of owning that kind of shop scares me, especially when it involves human-like dolls. Writing this sentence alone already reminds me of the Child’s Play movie series and the short film entitled Alma that I watched just recently in YouTube.

Anyway, moving on, I love Kasie West’s characterization of Caymen. Caymen’s sarcasms are just so natural and witty and these make her stand out more from the rest. I can see that despite being financially unstable, Caymen is being raised well by her mother as seen in her personality and the way she handles certain situations. Yes, she may still be a teenager and experiences what any other teenagers go through, hence her mild rebellion, but she’s still likable. By just reading about her, I know right away that I would want to be her friend. And then comes Xander – the super-rich, tall, handsome guy – who unexpectedly enters Caymen’s life and changes it forever.

At a glance, readers might suspect that Xander would be the usual spoiled, arrogant, and stereotypical kind of guy since he is from a rich family, but Kasie West proves him otherwise. Like Caymen, he turns out to be a likable character and as the story progresses, I come to root for their friendship to bloom into something more. The growing attraction they have for one another is undeniable. Moreover, I like his sportsmanship to accept the challenge Caymen prepares for him during their “career days”. From being that to extending sweet gestures to Caymen, I can definitely say that Xander deserves to be one of the top swoon-worthy guy characters. (Hihi!)

But there’s more to it than that. The Distance Between Us isn’t just about the relationship between two people. Kasie West is able to perfectly address some realistic issues in the story being dealt by the characters. She is able to portray and describe what’s it like to raise a child as a single parent, how Caymen feels without knowing her father, the difference in the surroundings depending on the social class one is involved in, the expectations Xander’s father projects to him as the future heir of their business, and most of all, the separation of the different levels in the social class. One by one, Kasie West slowly resolves the issues and best of all, it is evident that she succeeds in breaking the norm as a way to let readers open their minds and learn to take risks.

Overall, this is one excellent read! It’s quite surprising and unexpected that I read the book in less than three days! It’s been a while since I’ve done that and it’s refreshing. I guess this is one reasonable proof that this book is worth-reading. I love everything about it – all the characters, the narration of the story, the underlying message, and the storyline in general. Even the dialogues are witty and I find it entertaining to read, especially Caymen’s sarcasms. Kasie West definitely knows how and when to use words and play around with it. Plus, who wouldn’t feel giddy reading about Xander and Caymen? In short, I couldn’t put the book down. That’s how much invested I am into the story. And I’m glad I read this book.


The 39 Clues: Unstoppable, Book One: Nowhere to Run by Jude Watson

At first, I thought Day of Doom would be the last book of the series. However, after reading it, the story of Amy and Dan Cahill still doesn’t end there. It made me curious how Scholastic will create a new plotline after what happened in Day of Doom.

Here’s the plot description taken from the back cover of the book:

The 39 Clues - Unstoppable, Book One - Nowhere to Run coverThe Cahill Family has a secret. For five hundred years, they have guarded the 39 Clues — thirty-nine ingredients in a serum that transforms whomever takes it into the most powerful person on earth. If the serum got into the wrong hands, the disaster would rock the world. So certain Cahills have always made it their mission to keep the serum safe, buried, locked away. Until now.

Thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, are the latest guardians of the Clues. They think they’ve done everything right, but a tiny mistake leads to catastrophe. The serum is missing and Dan and Amy have to get it back and stop who stole it . . . before it’s game over. For everyone.

To be honest, due to my disappointment in Day of Doom, I almost wanted to abandon the next series. I also feel that I’m beginning to outgrow The 39 Clues. Aside from that, not being a great fan of series in general, I’m doubtful if the story of 39 Clues will ever end, that after this new set of storyline, there will be another set. And they’re already slowly eating up the space in my shelves. But anyway, I still gave the new series the benefit of the doubt. And I’m glad I did because Nowhere to Run did not disappoint.

First, it’s a feud between Cahills, then Vespers come into picture and now a mysterious third party endangers the lives of Amy and Dan again. Who is this Pierce and what is his connection to the Cahills? This question remains unanswered and it just triggers my curiosity more. This definitely convinces me enough to buy the next book.

I’m truly glad that Nowhere to Run has lived up to my expectations. Jude Watson is able to deliver and narrate the story well and her introduction to the Unstoppable series has made me hopeful that his new series will turn out good. As I read through the story, I could feel the connection between the author and characters, as opposed to Day of Doom in which I feel the author seems distant with the characters. It’s evident that Jude Watson knows the characters well and succeeds in portraying their personalities and behaviors, showing their strengths as part of a respective Cahill branch, as I’ve known them since the beginning. New, interesting, and technologically-inclined characters have also emerged who, I believe, will become significant in the plot as the story progresses. Plus, I miss Nellie being on the roll again, so I’m happy to see her help the kids.

Overall, Nowhere to Run is an enjoyable read. I think this is more exciting than the previous series. The plot revolves around the serum and Olivia Cahill finally plays a role in it. The story follows yet another set of adventures Amy and Dan Cahill partake with their friends, encountering more dangerous expeditions to different parts of the world. Once again, the story incorporates mind-boggling codes and puzzles as well as thrilling historical information which makes the book more motivating to read. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book.