>24 HOURS - A MUSICAL by The Necessary Stage

>reviewed by Melissa De Silva

>date: 24 mar 1999
>time: 8pm
>venue: the drama centre
>rating: **1/2

>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.


24 HOURS - A MUSICAL, fell rather short of its own promise. Indeed, the characters burst into song frequently enough but the musical numbers were largely unmelodic and forgettable. Songs lacked a certain emotional punch and dynamism.

Likewise, the plot was a simple one - convenience store workers put up a fight to keep their workplace from being demolished to make way for the National Education Museum. However, the subplots were never fully developed. For example, the complexities of the relationship between the alcoholic rebel adolescent Ross and her sometimes absent mother were left unexplored.

>>'24 HOURS was saved thanks to a generous dose of humour'

In the same way, the thematic variety was not developed to its fullest. The gamut of themes touched upon ranged from maturing love, parental responsibility to various kinds of freedom (whether from childhood bullies or faceless authorities. The serious implications of the last theme was not, however, adequately dealt with: the police officer and news reporter who investigate the store's strike represent the indifference and obstructive power of the law and the media to the struggles of the common man to voice his convictions. Their agreement to not inform their superiors for fear of inciting a riot is overheard by Susan, much to her disgust. When she questions them, they can only give vague replies that "things" are more complex and the matter is settled. In this example, a more definite resolution was needed, yet sadly never came.

In mitigation, 24 HOURS was saved thanks to a generous dose of humour and fun as well as a cast with good acting abilities. Serene Chen as Hwee Moi gave a moving performance when she faced the heart-breaking appeals of her boyfriend. Kevin Verghese, playing Romeo, the smart mouthed, bossy brain of the comic duo bullies, handled his role with delightful skill. The bullies' rendition of "It's Not Easy" came complete with air guitar riffs and a hilarious dance routine.

On the whole, 24 hours provided more entertainment by way of humour than from any impressive musical score, song or dance number.