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.
>>>>>A MATURING CHESTNUT
It was rare
that one feels intense agitation after a show. This was the feeling that
grabbed me as soon as the curtains came down. Continually and throughout
the show, flashes of this impulse had been steadily building.
Lest you misunderstand, this was not an agitation caused by disgust or
any such disapproval of the show, instead, it was a pure and simple impulse
to find a word-processor.
I just had
to spread the word.
And my message
is: if you haven't seen CHESTNUTS, then pray don't miss it. You still
have your chance for the last 3 days of its 2nd run on the 20-22nd of
of the show was just overwhelming. Conceived to crank out the most number
of laughs from a (preferably) local Singaporean audience in one and a
half-hours, it certainly did its job. A diverse range of targets were
chosen for mockery. Examples like Mediacorp's 'War Diary', to 'Miss Saigon',
to the unflappably cool Theatreworks and even the recent rise of the Para
Para dance trend. Placed one after the other in quick succession, these
sketches were brought to life by the comic duo of Jonathon Lim and Sean
Yeo. Mad men they clearly were, for the range of character and costume
changes could only have been handled by experienced
stage performers. In this respect there was little disappointment, as
was the rapport both displayed, obviously from a long-standing working
>>'I'll just say this again in case I haven't made myself clear
enough: GO WATCH THE SHOW!'
In some aspects of their comic style, there were shades of 'Forbidden
Broadway', evident especially in parts relating to 'Miss Saigon' and 'Le
Miz'. However, the comic duo went one further with their nastily delicious
lyrics that would make even Gerard Alessandrini* proud. It was truly a
delight to both marvel at the quality of the lyrics and laugh at the same
time. Kudos to the writer, (who I suspect may have been Jonathon Lim
judging by his very productive CV).
of the twisted creativity required to bring together such
GO WATCH THE
disparate elements as Wayang Kulit, Theatreworks and 'Titanic' could be
found here, which in the end created one of the more memorable sequences
in the show. Also, the 'War Diary'sketch in my opinion was
worth the price of the ticket alone. I won't spoil the surprise by describing
these or the many other sketches that will doubtlessly leave you laughing
in your seats. And I'll just say this again in case I haven't made myself
Now, in all this positivity, was there anything that I was dissatisfied
mainly 3 things and I'll point them out to avoid sounding too much like
an advertisement. Firstly, the energy of the show had a tendency to sag
at parts. This happened more so in the first half when some of the
jokes fell flat. I thought some editing might have tightened up and evened
the overall texture of the show. Secondly, the technical aspects could
have been better. Scene changes happened a touch too slowly
for my taste. Lighting was also not controlled too well as actors were
sometimes in shadow. Thirdly, the stamina of the actors seemed to let
them down at some of the more challenging sequences. This happened a few
times and had the effect of rendering the lyrics a little unclear.
In the entire
scheme of things however, these are small points and should not dilute
your resolve. For what it is, the show shines ever so brightly. I can
honestly say that I haven't had this funny a night out in a long
time. Thankfully the show will continue to be a regular fixture for Christmases
in the future as can be seen by it being the 5th instalment since 1996.
Regretfully, I can only ask myself why I didn't find out about it earlier.
of 'Forbidden Broadway'