>die fautus die by the substation

>reviewed by sherrie lee

>date: 2 nov 2001
>time: 9pm
>venue: the substation
>rating: not rated

>tired already? go home then
>review junkie? whitney, give them this click to sniff

>look, we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some undefinable instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous. ****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied. * : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt, and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content, intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now? Look, at least we tried.


Hard rock blasted from the makeshift balcony at the top of The Substation building. The words were unintelligible but the mood was surely devil may care. While the guitars and drums wailed, the singer crooned and crowed into the microphone. Westside (that's the name of this local award-winning band) was clearly the driving force of the evening's spectacle misconstrued (either by the copywriter or the artists themselves) as a rock operetta.

Supposedly based on Christopher Marlowe's famed play, Khairuddin Hori and Gene Sha Rudyn's collaborative DIE FAUSTUS DIE was a disappointment. The so-called spectacular act of song, dance and death-defying circus high-wire acts was reduced to a jam session with distractions in the form of a coquettish drag queen, black-briefed, melon-smashing, crazy-looking fella, and a video projection of unclear and/or incomprehensible images.

>>'It was Westside that stole the limelight and won the hearts of those that had no idea what they were witnessing'

Was the loony Faust and the drag queen the devil? Or was it the band that was the devil and the drag queen representative of Faust's youth? Not that it really mattered in the end. After smashing the melon by dropping it from the balcony, Faust (or whoever he was supposed to be) scaled down the building's façade and disappeared into oblivion. Drag queen continued to remind us of her voluptuous fake boobies as she sashayed to and fro. In the meantime, it was Westside that stole the limelight and won the hearts of those that had no idea what they were witnessing.

Apart from a band's gaining new fans, the only other good that came out from it was the makeover the building experienced. Using the façade as the site of performance was innovative - it enlarged the spectator space and inevitably made its surroundings, especially cars whizzing by, part of the set.

I have to admit that I only stayed an hour and wasn't sure how long the whole event was. But those 60 minutes were agonising. I was waiting, hoping for, and finally demanding to see some semblance of drama, or anything that made sense of the story of Faust. As open as I tried to be, it was just beyond me to let this assault on my senses continue.

There was no Faust in the performance. Just Westside and the power of hard rock.