Saturday, June 29, 2019

VIRGIN LABFEST 15: Set B

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

THE UNREACHABLE STAR – 18-year-old Ali (Lorie Figuerroa) comes home to a mini celebration for her birthday. Tatay (Raffy Tejada) has political plans for her to complement her being an Iska while Nanay (Tex Ordonez) believes that devotion to the Virgin Mary is the answer to their problems. With Kuya (Reynald Santos) working odd jobs so they can all survive, what’s supposed to be a happy reunion turns sour as they begin to reveal inconvenient truths about themselves and their dysfunctional family.

Any attempt at bringing awareness when it comes to mental health is appreciated and should be applauded. Given that this is just a one-act play, should it be picked up to be a full feature, then there is definitely some room for improvement and to further expound on the topic. The potential is there and can still be honed. As it is, you just feel that something is lacking and the acting styles tend to diverge a bit, which prevents the narrative from achieving a uniform tone overall, a bit generic to be honest.

ANAK KA NG – Connie (Skyzx Labastilla) packs the things of his recently deceased husband, ready to give it away to those who might have a need for it. Pina (Krystle Valentin) protests, citing sentimental value as a reason which she thinks her mother will not understand because of their estranged relationship. As they tackle abandonment issues and typical complications of having an absentee OFW parent, they find a winning lottery ticket in her father’s possessions, making them instant millionaires.


This one I really like because there is balance between the drama and the comedy without being awkward. The storyline is still timely given the non-traditional setup OFW families have, along with all the complications. The problem with the narrative is it only seems effective as a one-act play, but might end up being too dragging if developed into a full-length feature. We’ve seen this story many times before, and that kind of witty banter is difficult to sustain unless you have more interesting subplots to back it up.

WANTED: MALE BOARDERS – The arrival of loud and proud cross dresser Melody (Lance Reblando) shakes up the dynamics at a male boarding house. Alpha male Andrew (Vincent Pajara) is cool with it given his confidence in his sexuality. Closeted Ian (AJ Sison) finds a best friend and a confidante. NGSB and homophobic Marco (Ross Pesigan) starts getting attracted. Soon the two become, for lack of better term, fuck buddies. Together, the four rediscover their sexuality and realize that it’s a gay world after all.

There’s always a shocker in the mix at the Virgin Labfest. It just so happens that this year, it’s another gay themed entry. Unlike last year’s Tulad Ng Dati, though, Wanted: Male Boarders doesn’t come off as that weird because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Instead, it is unapologetic, crass, and unabashed. What you get is total entertainment which is provocative and borderline scandalous yet the message that it is trying to convey, which is LGBT representation, doesn’t get lost in the presentation. Just fitting for Pride Month!

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