Because I have readers outside of the Philippines, I need to explain: Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah is a campy, original Filipino graphic novel by Carlo Vergara. It’s about a gay parlorista (hairdresser/ beauty specialist) whose alter ego is the busty, bodacious FEMALE superhero Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah.
Last July, the Flippers had a Zsa Zsa book discussion and we were lucky enough to have Carlo Vergara on hand to listen to our discussion and answer our questions about the book (and sign autographs too!). With him was Tuxqs Rutaquio, who plays the lead, Ada, in the musical.
CarVer and Tuxqs at the FFP discussion
So I didn’t mind watching it a second time, although turned out to be a different experience for me.
A few boos: we had reserved P600 seats, only to find out when we claimed the tickets that our reserved seats had been sold to some other people (they refunded P100) and we had seats at the far end of the theater, along the side, and the most annoying of them all: right next to the exit door so all the latecomers had to pass in front of us. Granted, it was a night of horrendous traffic (Eheads concert at MOA), but theater policy should limit late entrance to the intermission, or else they need to devise a way to let the people in without disturbing any of the seated audience who came on time to watch the show.
And my beef: the theater’s audio was really bad. There were times when it was too loud (the earsplitting scene when Ada and Didi were screaming, thinking the house was getting attacked by stone-throwers) and times when the mics were crackly or picked up feedback. But most of the time, especially for the songs layered with background music and solos performed upstage — we couldn’t make out the solos. The play is a musical, they should have made sure everyone could hear it properly — isn’t that a theater rule, to make sure “the deaf old lady in the back row” could hear everything clearly?
The show was still enjoyable despite the aforementioned logistical and technical flaws, if only because of the show’s entertainment value. The camaraderie between Ada and Didi (played by Tuxqs Rutaquio and Joey Paras) was as fascinating as I remembered it, and Eula Valdez as Zsa Zsa was quite possibly even more stellar this time around. I also love that they updated the script and it was still laugh-out-loud funny (at least for what dialogue made it to our far end of the theater), but I really missed the overall WOW experience I had first time I watched it.
My copy: paperback (books I & II combined), bought at PETA run, autographed twice by CarVer (first at the PETA run, second at the FFP reading)
My rating: book 5/5 stars; musical – PETA run 5/5 stars; 2009 run 3.5/5 stars