“Stage Kiss” Review: A Fun Rom-Com with Deeper Undertones

I’m no actor but there are times when I wonder how the people on stage separate their personal lives from their roles. Do their offstage selves bleed into their assumed persona? Or do they get so deep into their role that it affects their personal lives? These blurred lines are what Repertory Philippines examines in Stage Kiss, their opening salvo for their 83rd season.

In Stage Kiss, out-of-work actress She auditions for the leading role in a 1930’s melodrama. She’s over the top but she’s so charming that she ends up landing it. She gets the shock of her life when she discovers that her leading man is her real-life ex, He. Their relationship in the play and their many, many stage kisses spark something from the past, leading them to wonder if life is imitating art or it’s the other way around. Take note: She is married and has a daughter, while He is in a relationship.

There’s plenty of laughs in the show. Missy Marama and Tarek El Tayech are hilarious as She and He. She’s exaggerated performance makes her so likable that I found myself rooting for her, even if she’s not making very good choices. Meanwhile, He’s laidback attitude is fun to watch, until things take a terrifying turn later on.

Rounding out this dynamic duo are Jamie Wilson, who plays the adorable director of the show. Robbie Guevara and Justine Narciso add emotional heft as She’s husband and daughter. Playing the cast in revolving roles are Andres Borromeo as Kevin and Micaela Pineda as Angela (absolutely fun to watch). Nick Nangit plays a silent role as the accompanist but he sets the tone of scenes.

The terrifying turn I mentioned earlier is what makes Stage Kiss a layered show. Underneath the comedic takes and jokes are things I thought about for quite some time. What drives a relationship? What happens when the kilig has settled and a routine sets in? During the talkback at the end of the show, one cast member said, “you don’t always get what you want but you get what you need.” Deep stuff.

I enjoyed Stage Kiss because director Carlos Siguion-Reyna expertly handled the complex themes of Sarah Ruhl’s play. You laugh, you think, and the transition is always smooth. A perfect watch for the love month.


This story is in partnership with Repertory Philippines. Tickets to Stage Kiss are out now, and can be bought by calling REP at 8451-1474 or 0966-9054013, Ticketworld at 8891-9999, or by logging on to www.ticketworld.com.ph. For updates and show schedules, log on to www.repertoryphilippines.ph. You may also follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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