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Familiar OPM songs, fast friendships

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There’s nothing complicated in the storyline of Artist Playground’s musical “I Remember A Boy” and that’s okay. In hawking nostalgia, there’s nothing like presenting the familiar, the universal to sweeten the deal.

Mariella Laurel as Ellie in 'I Remember A Boy' (Photos by Manny Llanes/ Manila Bulletin) /mb.com.ph

Mariella Laurel as Ellie in ‘I Remember A Boy’ (Photos by Manny Llanes/ Manila Bulletin)

“I Remember A Boy” is about friends who reunite at a cafe they once frequented in college. At this reunion, they recalled how their friendship came together, and how they fell in love and fell apart.

The show opens with core message put forth on the table soon enough: A friend who totally gets you is irreplaceable and one who serves as your partner in crime is even more precious.

The musical features millennials Mariella Laurel as Ellie, Kathleen Francisco as Shayne, Cathrine Go as Kate, Philippe Go as Eero, Joe Henson as Carlo, and Miko Manguba as David, who sing songs not from their era. Some of the titles in the 21-song repertoire are “I Remember The Boy (Joey Albert),” “Don’t Know What To Say” (Ric Segreto), “Mamang Sorbetero” (Celeste Legaspi), “Di Na Natuto (Gary Valenciano),” “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko (Sharon Cuneta),” “Bonggahan (Sampaguita),” “No Touch (Juan dela Cruz Band),” “Limang-Dipang Tao (Ryan Cayabyab),” “Ikaw Pa Rin (Tito Mina),” and “Ewan (Apo Hiking Society).”

The most #Throwback feeling was when they sang Basil Valdez’s “Sometime, Somewhere,” with lyrics that go, “Somewhere, our somewhere would not be just one place but everywhere/Until that sometime, somewhere we just have to be content with stealing glances…”

Many of these songs became hits way before the artists were born but you won’t know it by the way they gave their heart into singing each number; as if these comprised the soundtrack of their lives.

Mariella, daughter of actor Franco Laurel and Ayen Munji-Laurel, also directed the show. The young lady is someone we should watch out for. She has soothing and powerful voice in turns, perfectly fit for the stage. She has endearing charisma that makes us smile and laugh, leaving a wow face on the audience with her performance.

Throughout the show, the thespians reminded us of the different types of friends every barkada almost always has. The super smart, the approachable, the pasaway… they’re all there on stage and in people’s lives.

A scene from 'I Remember A Boy' musical (Photo by Manny Llanes/ (mb.com.ph)

A scene from ‘I Remember A Boy’ musical (mb.com.ph)

Short of being a spoiler, watch out for the conflict in the story. It hits like a fireball (or “Like A Cannonball” by Menudo, if we’re going to be ’80s about it).

The show reminds that even good friends will sometimes hurt our feelings in more ways than one. Ah, but friends who argue (in a healthy way) actually have better relationships as these strengthen the bond. The important thing is to embrace forgiveness.

“I Remember A Boy” has the right combination of love, betrayal, heartbreaks, and absolution.

And then there are the hits.

Written by Ayu Martinez with musical direction from Jesse Lucas, “I Remember A Boy” has three remaining shows — today at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Shalee Vicencio, Gian Gloria, Nina Macalino, Kendrick Ibasco, Vyen Villanueva, and Jon Abella serve as alternate actors in other days.

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