>the second 42 theatre festival (week two) by action theatre
>reviewed by guest writer fiona chow
23 nov 2001
God knows I'm generally not a critical person. But watching the second week of THE SECOND 42 THEATRE FESTIVAL at ACTION Theatre brought out the monster in me and the many not-so-friendly Fionas I never knew existed.
of the two main productions, 'Monsters' and 'I Am Roger', were weak and
inconsequential. The motives and essences of the characters were one-dimensional
and lacking in development. 'I Am Roger' was surely the lesser of the
two evils with a stronger character development and better narrative.
Ok, ok, being a
However what gave 'I Am Roger' a little lift was the astute direction by Jonathan Lim. His clever touches made the trite dialogue work much better with innovative physical symbolism and smooth transitions. The use of four moving screens not only presented effective exit and entrance points but also projected the motif of fragmentation wonderfully. Brandon Fernandez and Caleb Goh put the "music" in the "musical" with their beautiful, rich, full-bodied singing voices, masking the other less-than-credible voices of their co-actors (yes actors, not singers).
>>'Leong's spectacular performance was well worth the agonizing three hours.'
After the ordeal upstairs, I thought I would be treated to some light entertainment at the Backyard Stage. After all, the programe sheet promised a comedy of errors when cheeky mischievous fairies create disorder amongst the humans in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.
Yet the brawl on stage, which focused on the catfight by the two women, left me wondering if the audience was laughing for the right reasons. Without the necessary depth of theatre experience, many of the actors were unable to convey the fine nuances of comedy and their lines. And I do think Shakespeare intended it to be a comedy - not some theatrical version of 'Ah Girl' complete with ah lian mannerisms.
When I thought all hope was gone, the lifesaver came right at the end. Hossan Leong's spectacular performance in 'Who Wants to Be a Celebrity' was well worth the agonising three hours. His script was well written and tight, and his comic timing was simply amazing. There was never a flat moment as he managed to keep the energy running and the adrenaline high. With wicked jabs at celebrity wannabes and celebrities who are still wannabes after fame, he kept everyone laughing nonstop.
and joke material were suitably localised while the songs were chosen
to complement his jokes, with parts of the lyrics modified to bring across
his point. Well-composed songs dedicated to local celebrities like Zoe
Tay and Fann Wong, made sure that his audience lapped up every bit of
his insider's gossip.