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Production

Show Off 3

Company

FaithWorks

Reviewer

Nadia Bte Ibrahim

Date

03/12/2004

Time

8.00pm

Place

83b Geylang Road

Rating

***

Show on and off

Staged in a little shop house in Geylang, Show Off 3 promised the audience a night of great entertainment. And judging from the loud applause after the play, I'm certain the audience enjoyed themselves. Three short plays were on the programme for the night: Only the Lonely, Tub and Bits.

Only the Lonely was a play about three women from three different backgrounds and how each dealt with her loneliness. Written and directed by Alin Mosbit, the play intended to present an intimate study of loneliness in some everyday lives.

The roles of the three women were played by Malti Lalwani, Heryanti Ramlan and Christina Chelliah. Lalwani played the part of Madu, an Indian woman whose husband has died and left her to raise their son in a foreign land. Heryanti played an Indonesian maid who is constantly watched by her employers but soon finds out that she is pregnant with the child of her Bangladeshi boyfriend and feels lost without the comfort of her family. Chelliah was Angie, a housewife whose husband rarely spends time with her due to his work.

The set for Only the Lonely was simple. No fancy props, just a keyboard, a basin of laundry and a pot of curry. This minimal setup created a morose atmosphere suited to the theme of the play and its appropriateness raised my expectations to a high level. I expected thought-provoking questions to be raised and refreshing and unique insights into the notion of loneliness to be presented. To my disappointment, this was not to be. Only the Lonely turned out to be a bland and unmoving play about the sad life stories of three women. The plot, which was not ambitious, told the audience things they already knew. For instance, the idea of being surrounded by a "sea of people" yet feeling lonely was echoed in some parts of the play. Despite the actors' commendable performances, (especially Chelliah for capturing the frustration and sorrow felt by a neglected housewife) the play was dragged down by poor and unimaginative writing.

The next piece, Tub, written and directed by Faith Lew, was about a man, (Rodney Oliveiro) who seeks privacy and solace in the comfort of his own washroom. His life has been a trying one: he has no luck with the opposite sex, he is haunted by memories of his mother's death, he is always having to clean up after his younger sister. Oliveiro managed to capture the insecurity and helplessness felt by his character, a man who desperately wants to fit in and to please everyone around him. The role demanded boundless energy as the character goes through countless mood swings - fractious one moment and manic the next. His performance tickled the audience but at the same time, struck a chord as they witnessed Oliveiro's character dealing with the depressing memories of his mother and his childhood days. Displaying a great understanding of the personality and desires of his character, Oliveiro's performance was undoubtedly the highlight of the night.

After Only the Lonely and Tub, Faith Lew and her male partner, silenced the crowd with their enchanting and abstract performance, Bits. Dressed in black, with black paint on their faces and arms, the two used strong body language to depict the emotions felt by people in their darkest moments. The duo swayed, leapt and stomped to the rhythm of the music. One could feel the raw, almost sexual energy between the both of them. Lew and her partner managed to tell a story with their body movements. For instance, as Lew was tugging on her partner's arm, he remained rooted to the spot - a symbol of mankind's constant but useless battle to keep loved ones close forever. As Lew admitted after the performance, Bits had received much attention from the audience due to the "extreme" nature of the piece. It was a provocative and animalistic performance that had everyone staring and holding their breaths till the very end.

Explore talents. Create original work. Present an avenue for budding theatre enthusiasts. These were the three main aims of Show Off 3 . All in all, the show was an excellent attempt to do just that. Perhaps it could have started on a stronger note if Only the Lonely had been more than a mere relation of sob stories, but as Meat Loaf once sang, "Two out of three ain't bad".


"The play may have started off on a poor note but as Meat Loaf once sang, 'Two out of three ain't bad'"

Previous Productions by FaithWorks
The Search for Asilo

Let Me Fly

More Reviews by Nadia Bte Ibrahim

Ratings out of 5, based on Practitioner's Vision / Reviewer's Response: ***** = Transcendent / Rapturous;
**** = Crystal / Appreciative; *** = Transmitted / Thoughtful; ** = Vague / Unsatisfied; * = Uncommunicated / Mystified.