All Out of Love The Musical gives Filipino-Australian singer-thespian MiG Ayesa much room to shine.
Given the material, especially the classic pop ballad selection thrust upon him, it is by all means a tour de force.
Mig portrays rock star Jamie Crimson who is suffering from an emotional breakdown caused by a romantic split from his girlfriend Rayne, a character that Rachel Alejandro handles with relatively careful precision.
With his chiseled body frame and high-profile rocker aura in full display, MiG fits the profile of an '80s star in New York City, U.S.A. He brandishes all sorts of facial expressions and gym-fueled body movements whether he is in the spotlight or supposed to be just hiding in the dark.
That he gets to sing easily melodious Air Supply hits all throughout is a big bonus. He and the rest of the cast are dealing with some jukebox, ageless songs—a catalog familiar and never outdated to many people.
Whether he sings “Sweet Dreams,” “Lonely Is The Night,” or the titular piece, MiG grabs in arresting fashion, probably the kind of attention Graham Russel tried capturing when he uses the lyric “I want to arrest you.”
That “weird” line heard by Australians before Clive Davis asked him to change it to “I’m so lost without you” helped propel “All Out of Love” the song to American charts and the world.
The musical fittingly premiered here in the Philippines where the music of Air Supply has been a staple for lovestruck Filipinos since the 1980s.
It is Jamie Crimson’s story, too—how he realizes that fame is nothing compared to true love, and that everyone revolves around his stature as a major rock star and as a regular, street-smart guy fixated on the affection of only one woman.
STANDING OUT IN THE DARK
In one sequence, Jamie is hiding (in a dark portion of the stage) from record mogul Tommy King, gallantly played by Raymund Concepcion, as the stress of an upcoming tour and his romantic woes build up.
My nine-year-old son Ryde, who watched the musical with me last Friday, pointed his small finger to where Jamie is cowing, apparently because he can quietly notice him emphasizing his hiding act.
That he got my son’s attention even if the spotlight was on someone else proved MiG’s capacity to stand out even when he’s just in the corner. The kid blurted out at the end of the play, in another finger-pointing move, “Daddy, it was fun! That guy was acting well.”
MiG was a finalist in the reality television show RockStar: INXS which aired in 2005 and then appeared in the London stage production of “We Will Rock You,” another musical boasting a set list of another iconic group, Queen.
CORE HITS AND CURIOUS MISSES
Knowing that the story arc might be too complex for a kid who still doesn’t get the nature of the music biz, I informed my boy prior to Act 1 that he only needed to listen to the songs to appreciate the show.
I recall that around his age, I was beginning to learn by heart Air Supply hits such as “Lost In Love,” “Every Woman In The World,” and “Even The Nights Are Better.” That was easy, even without trying to. You could just hear Russel Hitchcock’s soaring vocals and Graham’s calming lower-register everywhere on FM radio a lot of the time.
Rachel’s take on “Lost In Love” was a departure from the familiar version but it has weight on its own.
Curiously, there were renditions done too fast and happy to showcase such a ballad-heavy discography. At one point, you’d hope there’s just piano or an acoustic guitar as accompaniment and the tempo slower than even the masters.
There were some great songs unexpectedly left out of the loop: “Goodbye,” “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All,” “Come What May,” and “I Can Wait Forever.” Stacie King, played by theater star Tanya Manalang, toyed at singing “Making Love...” but that was all.
Then again, All Out Of Love The Musical is not a story to cry over and savor with cathartic pleasure. There’s no tragedy and it shouldn’t haunt you.
With rom-com Filipino fans growing by the day, it should be cute to say there’s just a man "lost in love" taking upon "chances" in "keeping the love alive."
The villain Kurt Swinghammer, played ably by Jamie Wilson, is hilarious to watch.
Tommy singing “Here I Am” is a surprise shining moment for the character Raymund as his daughter Stacie looms delightfully big in her small figure—the type audiences would rally for a third-wheel turn.
In the end, MiG went down the stage purposely to thank spectators up close. It was his show anyway. Again, the very big bonus: Air Supply.
(All Out Of Love The Musical’s run is extended to Friday (November 9 at 8 pm) and Saturday (November 10 at 8 pm) at Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila. The 3 pm staging on the same day is already sold out.)
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.