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OMG KL has a play that’s been running twice EVERY DAY for the past 2 years?

They’ve been performing twice daily like this since 2014. And you won’t believe what it’s called….MUD! Literally mud, like chocolate mud cake, or muddy fields.

If you’re an elite in the Malaysian arts and culture scene, you’ve probably watched MUD: Our Story of Kuala Lumpur The Musical, or heard about it. But for us, even as KL-ites, we never imagined there was theater show that has been running for two whole years and showing two times a day, all this while. MUD shows at 3pm and 8.30pm, at Panggung Bandaraya, the building opposite Dataran Merdeka.

panggung bandaraya Image from mudkl.com.

Panggung Bandaraya is 110 years old! Image from mudkl.com

So, what is the show about anyway? Mud?!?

 

It’s a story about 3 guys who go to KL to make their fortune

mud kl cast mamat meng muthiah Image from mudkl.com.

(From left) Muthiah, Mamat and Meng. Image from mudkl.com

Except…#spoileralert…it is 1880, and KL was just small mining town back then. There is no cardboard Petronas Twin Towers or Uber car props in this show. Mamat, Meng and Muthiah are three pals who journey to KL, drawn by the promise of riches in the booming tin mining industry. In the first act, they yumcha in the town marketplace, when a chance meeting with a businessman presents them with an opportunity to make some cha-ching. We don’t have to explain that they obviously took up the offer (otherwise it would be a very short show).

In Act 2, Meng is working in the Ampang mines. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine young Malaysians wanting to work ankle to waist-deep in lumpur (hence the name ‘MUD’), panning for tin ore, but our ancestors never thought they were too atas for any job. Meanwhile, Mamat is celebrating the birth of his child, and Muthiah finds solace in a temple. Act 3 and 4 depict historical devastation happening to KL through the fires and big floods of 1881! We’re not gonna tell you the ending, you’ll have to watch it yourself.

mud kl tin mining scene

We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig. Image from mudkl.com

MUD is produced by Enfiniti Vision Media in collaboration with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). It’s one of the capital’s many attractions to draw local, as well as foreign tourists. It is also now directed by Tiara Jacquelina (aka Puteri Gunung Ledang) who took over from the previous director Amsalan Doraisingam. So if you’ve seen the earlier production, maybe you might wanna catch it again. It’s in a mix of English, BM and Mandarin, by the way.

Expect to be pulled up on stage because the show is interactive, but don’t worry, it actually sounds fun. You get to help the ‘townfolk’ put out the fire that burned down KL! (If you’ve always dreamed of being a firefighter, now’s your chance.)

“We will bring patrons, especially foreign tourists, to go on stage to cook and sample the food served. It will definitely be a sweet experience for them when they return home.” – Tiara Jacquelina, President of Enfiniti Vision Media, Free Malaysia Today

OMG, but if the cast has to repeat the same lines over and over again every day…HOW DO THEY NOT GO CRAZYYYY?!?

 

Sometimes they play different roles and experiment with other characters to keep it fresh

MUD kl cast rehearsal. Image from Facebook

The cast during rehearsals. Image from MUD KL Facebook

They’ve even been in different parts of ensemble at one point, one of the actors said in an interview with Malaysian Digest. Switching things up has helped them grow as stage actors, the cast agreed. It helps them find new things in their characters. Normally, actors don’t get to do that in other productions, so they’re happy with that kind of flexibility in MUD, especially due to the nature of the play having a longer showing term.

“My favourite part is when we change bits on stage here and there, where the audience might not notice unless they have been to the play more than once.” – Xavier Fong, actor on MUD, Malaysian Digest

Aren’t they still sick of seeing their colleagues every day of the year though? Nope, in real life, the 86 cast, crew and behind-the-scenes personnel are like bestiesEven during their off days, they will look for each other. They go hiking, watch movies together and hang out most of the time. Other than that, they sometimes play games with each other to hype up the mood and entertain each other before going onstage.

mud kl cast backstage make up. Image from Astro Awani

The cast applying their make-up before going on. Image from Astro Awani

Most people would think the actors would probably want to see other friends and do something non-MUD related, but amazingly, they actually come back to the theater to WATCH the show during their leave! Everyone has their favourite shows (whether it’s a play, movie or TV series), but there’s only so many times a person can watch the same thing again, right? #somuchrespect

“Off stage we are much more than that. We came from different backgrounds, have different faiths and beliefs but it doesn’t matter when we are performing together. The stage unites us.” – Anding Indrawani, actor on MUD (also a former Akademi Fantasia contestant), Malaysian Digest

But what if it’s a slow day for ticket sales and there’s less than 10 people in the audience? Or what if there is no one watching at all that day? As the saying goes…the show must go on. It’s the same for MUD. Naturally they do get tired sometimes and don’t feel like giving their best, but once they get step on the stage that feeling changes.

“We will still give out the same energy when there’s a full house or even with just one person in the audience.” – Prem Sagar, actor on MUD, Malaysian Digest

 

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So, is it worth going to watch MUD?

mud kl cast actor engaging with audience

Actors engaging with the audience. Image from rathimalar_govindarajoo, shared on MUD’s Facebook

We Googled reviews for MUD and a lot of them were generally favourable. Some people reportedly even shed tears.

“You will leave the theater feeling proudly patriotic of how far Kuala Lumpur – and the rest of our country – has come from its humble beginnings as a small mining town.” – Karmun Ng’s review on Malaysian Tatler

And here are more reviews on TripAdvisor:

mud kl reviews tripadvisor

MUD has 282 reviews on TripAdvisor. 206 people voted Excellent and 47 voted Very Good. Click to enlarge

To summarise, a lot of people said the message of Malaysian unity was clear. Even though KL was is made up of diverse communities, they all had have the same goals…to develop the nation for future generations, build a safe home their families, and pursuing happiness in life… much like the Malaysians of today.

“In recent years we have seen a lot of chaos and misunderstanding and we feel that it is important that we keep our story going and to spread the message that togetherness is important.” – Prem

And the more, the merrier, coz it’s an interactive type of play, so bring along a big group of friends with you. You can host your birthday party, like this person, who cut her cake on stage with the cast. Or companies can host an evening of CSR (wouldn’t you pay good money to see you boss dancing on stage or puting out a ‘fire’?). So, if you’re interested to catch MUD, here are the deets:

  • Show time: 3pm & 8.30pm daily. Subject to blackout dates
  • Price: RM84.80 (standard ticket)/RM53 (with MyKad) [CLICK TO BUY]
  • Location: Panggung Bandaraya, Jalan Raja, 50350 Kuala Lumpur

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