Sunday, August 6, 2006

Theatre festival


Two plays in two days, one a light british musical-comedy and the other a tragically beautiful play about coping with loss. Marvelous stuff. Makes me wonder what on earth am I doing warming the seats when I should be out there *emoting*! (You love me, you really love me!)

Right. On to the reviews then. The festival kicked off with 'A Very British Affair' by Escape Theatre Singapore. We've got London West End star Matt Jasper and British actor Mark Waite and a delightful pianist Ian Lee, who kept gettin hit on during the play by Matt in drag. The play itself, well, it was hardly a play, more like snippets of lyrical comedy strung together interceded by pieces of beautiful solemnity, was pleasantly enjoyable.

There were a whole lot of comedy sketches, including a sly dig at Shakespeare. There was bit with Matt in drag sporting a ridiculous falsetto, playing the overbearing Dame Mary Sunshine in his song and dance routine. There was the old hell and eternal damnation bit with the devil sending the lawyers off to go join the French and Germans in the corner. A bit of Phantom of the Opera. A bit of Gilbert and Sullivan. Countless jokes made at the expense of the poor Singaporean chap happily playing the piano in the background (Who's he then? I dunno, he was on the plane so I brought him along!) He does of course come back in the second half in full Elton John garb. And loads of other sketches. My personal favorite, A fantastically over-the-top operatic rendition of Kylie Minogue's 'Can't get you out of my head' replete with gyrating hips and robotic dance sequence. The show wasn't without its minor hitches, but on the whole light, fun and musical, and although none of the sketches were brilliantly belly-clutching laugh-out-loud affairs, it was a thoroughly delightful evening.

Tonight's show was 'Shadow Box' by the Madras Players. A very moving, strangely compelling drama about three cancer patients and their broken lives and broken dreams. Poignant and sensitive, it was a remarkably beautiful play with shining moments of laughter (the heavy kind, the laughter-with-baggage variety) peppered throughout. Never overbearing or pretentious, never agonizingly raw, it was nonetheless forceful and fragile at the same time. There was the mother and daughter duo, the old woman dying of cancer and her second-favorite daughter laboring after her mother. The tortured writer and his ‘friend in the greek sense of the word’ visited by his colourful former wife in all her drunken grandeur. The separated mother and father, joined once more for the last time and their unsuspecting son. Three beautiful streams that pulled each other and came together in a sad, delicate way. Very moving.

So that was that! And then there’s more, Othello's on tomorrow night and Macbeth and Amadeus sometime later. Not sure if I can make it to them all, there is still the matter of the college application essays waiting to be written.

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show…

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