“ Those who don’t know history, are doomed to repeat it” – Edmund Burke, 18th Century Anglo-Irish Philosopher and Statesman.
My wife and I nearly died last night…from laughing.
This is not our first outing to catch the Dim Sum Dollies but I must add that it’s our best to date. In fact, at a cursory glance the entire theatre would concur with us as the dynamic trio of Selena Tan, Pam Oei and Denise Tan returns to the stage and, within minutes, had the entire Esplanade Theatre laughing and nearly rolling off our seats onto the floor if not for the tight seating space. Because this latest Dim Sum Dollies installment of live comedy-theatre – part musical, part cabaret was frivolous, fun and a total riot (the legal sort that is).
What’s so exciting about Singapore’s History (post-independence) you may ask? After the drama and gore of the WW2 (and struggles of the pre-war years), what’s there to talk about apart from the boring politics (yawn…)? That is where Dim Sum Dollies came to the rescue. Thank goodness! They are joined by the multi-talented Hossan Leong who enhances the 2 hour long show with his brand of sharp and fast-paced humour with lots of local flavours thrown in.
The trio’s first full-length comedy-drama since 2008 is filled with their distinctive cabaret-styled music and dance routine. The lyrics are peppered with witty puns and innuendos alluding to the Dim Sum Dollies’ version of Singapore’s key moments since the separation with Malaya, ranging from controversial policies, political chess moves, yes everything from 1965 till now. This no-holds-barred production pokes fun at virtually everything uniquely Singaporean:such as the opening of the Casinos and Changi Airport to MRT breakdowns to our bugbear with foreign talents. Even the recent uproar over the grass-less Sports Hub was not spared.
There were many clever and entertaining moments but for me, the most surreal was to see the ‘gathering’ of all the mascots from all of Singapore’s endless stream of public campaigns all up on stage together. Yes, ‘Singa’ The Courtesy Lion was there and so was the ‘Sharity’ The Elephant along with the POSB ‘Savings’ Squirrel. I actually took a moment, pause and registered a mental snapshot of how unreal that scene was!
Fans of musicals like us would be tickled silly by how some iconic moments from famous musicals were cleverly adapted to deliver their version of Singapore’s History. ‘Jin Cham’ (translated as ‘Very Pathetic in Hokkien), had undertones from Les Miserables, complete with the patriotic flag. The other surreptitiously familiar scene taken from The Lion King portrays a certain leader being happy that his son is finally taking over the reign complete with all the SG campaign mascots from Singapore’s past bowing to worship the initiation of the son. Genius!
Accompanied by a live band and a band of male dancers cheekily named the ‘Loh Mai Guys’ (a name punned from a yummy Dim Sum Dish), the entire team delivered their performance with flawless perfection. The comedic timing, the choreography, the lighting, the songs all were a well-blended ‘rojak’ of colourful and cheeky musical acts that sent audiences reeling with laughter item after item.
While the recently revised rating of Advisory 16 (on account of sociopolitical references) does not forbid any children below age 16 from entering, we suggest leaving the young broods at home unless you are contended with answering an endless and frequent string of ‘why is this funny?’ questions from the kids as they may not be old enough to appreciate the humour. On the other hand, it makes for a rambunctious night out with adult company. To jog our memories, there are posters displayed along the foyer giving brief accounts of some of the key moments in Singapore’s history referred to in the play. It’s worthwhile arriving early to go through these posters and take some quirky photos with the Dim Sum Dollies standees in the foyer.
History has proven, time and again, that the statement by Burke is, true. On that note, I think, history, specifically Singapore’s should be learnt Dim Sum Dollies’ style so that our young country’s future will always be progressive and not doomed to repeat any of its past follies.
All photos credited to Dream Academy.
CATCH THE DOLLIES LIVE:
Dates: 11 – 23 December 2014
Venue: Esplanade Theatre
Show Duration: 2 hours (with a 20-minute intermission)
Show Times: Tuesdays – Fridays: 8pm
Saturdays & Sundays: 3pm & 8pm
Additional 8pm show on 22 December 2014 (Mon)
Tickets, priced from SGD58 and up can be purchased through SISTIC website, SISTIC Hotline: (65) 6348 5555 and SISTIC authorised agents islandwide. Don’t miss it!