British comedians and TV personalities Ed Byrne and Dara O Briain got a shadowy surprise last year when they came to Malaysia to shoot BBC Two travel show Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay.
The comedians were presented with a pair of wayang kulit puppets made in their likeness, and even got to perform a five-minute segment in Kota Baru, Kelantan in July 2016.
The puppets were made by creative designers Tintoy Chuo and Take Huat of Fusion Wayang Kulit which has designed and produced wayang kulit puppets based on Star Wars, superheroes, anime, and other pop culture properties.
On Aug 4, Fusion Wayang Kulit posted the images of the puppets as well as the process and concept drawings on its Facebook page (http://ift.tt/2vATffC), along with the message: “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to design the famous duo comedian from UK: Dara O Briain & Ed Byrne, for their BBC TWO show Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay.”
In a phone interview, Chuo says that the producer of the show had approached them to be featured in the show together with wayang kulit maestro Pak Daim, and wanted to produce a pair of puppets to surprise Byrne and O Briain with.
“We took about three to four weeks to design the puppets,” Chuo says. “First, we had to understand them. Dara is an Arsenal fan, Ed is a mountain climbing fan. So we added those elements to the puppets.”
Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay is a show in which Byrne and O Briain embark on an expedition of a lifetime, traversing more than 5,000km from Malaysia to Myanmar.
The first episode, set in Malaysia, aired in Britain in June. The duo start out in Kuala Lumpur (where they watch a chicken beauty pageant!) before heading to Genting Highlands to watch the finals of the prestigious World Lion Dance Championships.
They then visit the Batek orang asli tribe in Taman Negara and then take a train north to Kota Baru (where they filmed the wayang kulit segment), before ending the Malaysian leg in George Town, Penang.