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.
So, what is the show about anyway? Mud?!?
It’s a story about 3 guys who go to KL to make their fortune
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 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
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 besties. Even 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.
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
So, is it worth going to watch MUD?
“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:
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