Thursday, August 31, 2006

G.U.S. NITPICKS!! (v. 6)


Just got home from the press preview of Trumpet's latest offering, Joseph the Dreamer. [Thanks again, Michelle, for the tickets] Yeah, i know, they've been staging this play for the longest time. . .i think this must be the 3rd or 4th major run. I'm sure everyone' s already familiar with the story line, so we won't mention it here anymore.

What i do remember from the last time i watched JTD (i think back in 1999 or 2000), Gary V. shared the starring role with Audie Gemora. I had the MISfortune of watching the play with him essaying the role for that night. His over-acting was insufferable, to say the least; he contorted and rolled about the stage like he had a very, very bad bout of diarrhea.

Anyway, onwards to the present. Trumpets is known for its elaborate stage design and colourful costumes, so this present incarnation of JTD is a bit stripped-down, given that it is now held in SM Megamall Cinema 4 instead of the more formal Meralco Theater.

And they have contemporized the play, i guess to make it appeal to the younger crowd. So most of the songs are fast-paced, with hints of hip hop and even "boyband-ish" (especially the number featuring Benjamin).. Quite entertaining, really.

Franco Laurel does a very good job in his portrayal of Joseph, with large doses of enthusiasm and emotion. He sings very well, too. Ahh, but you can't please everyone. The girl beside me whispered to her companion, "Medyo matigas ang katawan niya" (He dances kinda like a robot).

The Pharoah's wife and Pothipar provide comic relief, and it is too bad their roles are way too short. However, the guy portraying Jacob had this really annoying slow Texan drawl. . .it was distracting, being obviously a put-on accent and all.

Of course, Trumpets being Trumpets, this play has a lesson for us all: it is about putting one's faith in God and trusting that His plan for us is the best one, no matter how dire the situation.

I'd say Amen to that!

("Joseph the Dreamer" will be staged during all weekends of September. For ticket inquiries, call Trumpets, Inc. at 635-4478)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

G.U.S. NITPICKS!! (v. 5)


Racks restaurant started sometime during my college days, and for a few years, it was quite a hit. Their ribs were very good and offered great value for money, until they opened too many branches left and right, and fell into hard times. Also, food quality went way south. Eventually, most of their branches were closed down.

Reading thru the papers recently, i was rather amused that the Prieto group (the people who run Shakey's Pizza, Dunkin Donuts, Tia Maria's in this country) acquired the rights to Racks resto and planned to open new branches, etc.....Huh? Adding another moribund brand to their lackluster roster, what for?

Well, after a rather ho-hum concert last night (no offense meant, R.T.), we decided to get a late dinner and stumbled upon the newly re-opened Racks in El Pueblo. The place looked bright and inviting for us hungry souls. . .in fact, i would say the lighting seemed rather too bright.

It turned out to be S.'s first time to eat at any Racks branch, as they never had a branch in her part of the world. Kawawa naman talaga yang promdi na yan (it's pitiful how she has been deprived her entire life :D)

Anyway, their menu hadn't changed much, save for some new items added (wasabi mashed potatoes, anyone?). Prices seemed on the reasonable side, at PHP185 - 250 for a set meal of ribs, coupled with side dishes, etc.

The boneless ribs were as good as advertised, and their famed BBQ sauce (i tried the extra hot one) packed quite a kick. Abovementioned wasabi mashed potatoes were flavourful, too.

On the debit side, the clam chowder S. ordered had a lot of small, round potatoes at the bottom. Hmm. . .and her baked beans were a little too spicy for comfort.

Meanwhile, R.T. was way too busy wiping his plate clean to make much comment. Well, he's as carnivorous as they come, so he was obviously satisfied.

Their staff were eager to please, and fairly knowledgeable of the menu offerings, too.

All in all, a good meal was had by us 3. And the average bill per person was a little below PHP300. Quite reasonable, and multiple return visits are in order!!!! [clap clap clap]