Manhid The Musical Review: A Wonderfully Filipino Musical

Jean Judith Javier as Dilim in Evolva Bonanza

It’s a 2-hour-and-4o-minute spectacle of Pinoy superheroes, beautiful ballet choreography, and a moving nationalistic story is rolled into one with Manhid, a musical of Pinoy superheroes and the fight for freedom. It’s truly a tale fitting for the celebration of the EDSA Revolution.

Set in a parallel universe where the EDSA Revolution failed, the story revolves round the battles of two groups of super–heroes: the Maragtas headed by tabloid writer Bantugan Buenaventura and the lady activist Lam-ang Panganiban, versus the Tulisan ng Bayan headed by General Apolaki Regalado.  

Ricardo Magno as Radia Indarapatra, Mayen Estanero as Mamalahim-ma, and JV ibesate in Azul

The Tulisan are employed by Mamalahim-ma, a demonic Minister of Humanity who plans on enslaving whole generations of Filipinos with her epidemic of Kamanhiran. The heroes and villains, as children of their native land receive their powers when they were named after the gods and heroes of Philippine myth as a protest for the Masaker ng Taong Bayan. In their battles these opposing teams fight for the future of the Philippines.   

Sandino Martin as Bantugan in the clutches of Earl John Arisola as Malyari, controller of shadows

The story is moving, with the songs wonderfully Filipino; the Eraserheads, for example, lend their talents to the songs, such as in one of the numbers, “Kailan”; while the Radioactive Sago Project played on with the score. The actors were also passionate in their performances; stand outs were Radia Indarapatra, the womanizing “chameleon” who can manipulate people by taking on different appearances; Allunsina, a potty-mouthed hero who can draw blood from her enemies by cursing, who was a clear crowd favorite; and Mamalahim-ma, whose performance was hair-rising as the villain of the story.

KL Dizon as Urduja and Ricardo Magno as Radia Indarapatra

This is, of course, a stage show helmed by Ballet Philippines; the eleborate choreography that is present in every scene, from beautiful synchronized performances from the ensemble, to the fights staged by the heroes are not lost on the audience. They are fluid, and serve as effective transitions in different scenes.

Overall, this is a show that above all, resonates well with its Filipino audience because of its universal message of freedom and sacrifice, with a refreshing modern twist.


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