Edsel and the Time Machine

a kate west review
SGC Entertainment Group & Asian Journal Publications
Directors Fenny G. Pangan & Alvin H. Reyes
Musical Director Sonny Fernando
USC campus, Bovard Auditorium
3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089
performing July 16, 2011 @7 pm only

"The Golden Boy with the Golden Voice"

Edsel Sotiangco is touted as a gifted young musical prodigy from the Philippines, known as "The Golden Boy with the Golden Voice". He recently deemed to grace USC with his variety show "Edsel and the Time Machine" and some of us will never get those two hours back. A real family affair (Dad's a producer), Edsel tours with friends and relatives, taking the audience back through time with a song from every major decade from the 1930's to the present. This would be the fifth time the show has been mounted. A former child star, Edsel showed amazing potential to be a bonafide pop star and now in his teen years, he's still at it.

The essential "story" is framed around Edsel attempting to find a little meaning in a show he's done countless times before. The mysterious Shadow Man helps Edsel get through a tedious rehearsal by pointing out the origins of musical inspiration. This means we get to see cast members trying out different songs following video clips of unrelated songs from the same eras. That's pretty much it. The talent is uneven, ranging from terrible to good. Some singers (and some musicians) are even occasionally off-key. You'll see a Beatles impersonation and some interesting violin playing mixed in there. All this seems par for the course for the rabid fans who scream with delight each time Edsel appears or hear a song we all recognize (and that would be almost all of them).

Edsel himself spends his time going through the motions of the bare minimum plot. Yes, he has a good voice, but tonight's passion wasn't in it. Some singers got really into it, however. Allyson Cantimbuhan has a nice belty voice singing "I Will Survive". Not the best choice for someone so young and unjaded, but her stage presence makes up for that a bit. Other non-terrible acts include the de Jesus sisters (Toots, Nini, Toni and Zandi) tackling some Broadway tunes ("Aquarius" from HAIR and "One Night Only" from DREAM GIRLS) and Lianna Gutierrez. The back-up dancers do a fine job as well.

Overall, the show is a crowd-pleaser, albeit with a built-in fan base. The tunes are mostly familiar and some come across much better than others. The video tracks aren't all that well organized, lightly touching on the particular eras, but not really introducing the songs performed. If you're not part of the in crowd, you might get bored (again, it's a two hour show) so unless you revel in kitsch and cheese (and some people do and more power to you) you can save that fifty dollars (you heard that right, and some people didn't even get a program once they ran out).

Junn Aquino, Lianna Gutierrez, Erika Delos Santos, Allyson Cantimbuhan, Henry Pagkalinawan, Jr., Andy Tecson, Glynis Sotiangco, Toots De Jesus, Nini De Jesus, Toni De Jesus, Zandi De Jesus, Fenny Pangan, Al Rapisura

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