By David Fabros

Pocholo Malillin, Vice President and Executive Producer of the fabulous Club Mwah musical revue dashes from greeting VIP guests at the foyer, to cueing the technical director to start the show. Technical director Reinheart Malillin cues the opening music, and out comes a sparkling coterie of beautiful, slender trans dancers with their dashing male partners, all in flamboyant costumes and jewelry enough to rival the stage extravaganzas of Bangkok and Las Vegas. At center stage appears the star of the show, the phenomenal Chris Nicolas, as Patti La Belle in a 30-kilo fully-beaded gown that gleams in the light, the dancers sashay and vogue around her; the lasers weave streams of color around the performers, reflecting them back into the audience. SPECTACULAR does not begin to describe the audience experience at Club Mwah, that glitzy theatre on Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, that comes alive every Friday and Saturday nights.

After 14 years of performing as the main star with the Follies de Mwah, Chris Nicolas was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the 2016 ALIW Awards, in honor of his contribution to the country’s performing arts heritage. Back at the dressing room, a level under the stage area, Chris and Pocholo share their triumphs and tribulations with regard to staging their latest show offering, BEDAZZLED 14. “We work very hard in putting this show together,” Pocholo begins. “Most people only see the fabulous and funny parts that makes the show well-loved and very popular, but we pour out our hearts and souls into making a very unique, and world-class show.” With almost a dozen costume changes in the course of the 90-minute musical revue featuring gems of cinematic and theatrical show-stoppers like “Dreamgirls,” “Burlesque,” “Miss Saigon,” “Havana,”and even the indigenous “Singkil.” Chris relates how overwhelming it sometimes gets. Chris also directs the show, designs the costumes, the lighting plan, the broad strokes of the choreography, and the stage sets, on top of being the main star. “I can’t believe we have been doing this for 14 years,” says Chris while removing his make-up. “It takes so much from me, and the dancers, and we are always, always on 110% when we perform.”

“For Bedazzled 14, we added some new dancers, as well as state-of-the-art lighting, lasers, projectors and stage hydraulics that will enhance the audience experience. A lot of customers spoil us with praises when they see how our shows are staged,” Pocholo continues. “Match that with great Japanese cuisine from our chef, and a talented professional DJ for the after-show dance party, there’s no wonder nights at Club Mwah are always unforgettable.” Hundreds of celebrities, important persons in government, foreign guests, friend circles and families have enjoyed the stupendous shows at Club Mwah for the last 14 years. Now that Club Mwah extends its glam productions to outside engagements and provincial tours, Chris and Pocholo hope to gain more audience following from Filipinos and foreign tourists alike.

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Club Mwah stages “Bedazzled” on Friday and Saturday evenings, but occasionally, they may have outside engagements, so it’s best to check if there’s a show at telephone numbers (02)5357943 / (02)5322826 / 0926-7088082 (globe) / 0999-1784108 (smart).

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