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Outrageously funny, full of timely insights regarding the Singapore landscape, and delivered with the most pitch perfect comedic timing.

Theatre Review (Singapore): ‘Dim Sum Dollies – The History of Singapore Part 2’

Dim Sum Dollies - Oei, Selena Tan and Denise Tan. Image by Dream Academy.
Dim Sum Dollies – Oei, Selena Tan and Denise Tan. Image by Dream Academy.

Dream Academy’s Dim Sum Dollies are back with The History of Singapore Part 2, which will play at the Esplanade Theatre from 11th to 23rd December 2014.

The History of Singapore starts off from the days of Sang Nila Utama discovering this island and takes the audience right up to present day Singapore by highlighting seminal moments with skits filled with satire and wit, – and Singlish.

Outrageously funny, full of timely insights regarding the Singapore landscape, and delivered with the most pitch perfect comedic timing, the Dim Sum Dollies (Trio made up of Selena Tan, Pam Oei and Denise Tan) play several characters as they take the audience through what made Singapore, Singapore.

Mrs Soharto (Selena Tan), Indira Gandhi (Pam Oei) and Mrs Marcos (Denise Tan) reacting to Singapore's progress in 1981.  Image by Dream Academy.
Mrs Soharto (Selena Tan), Indira Gandhi (Pam Oei) and Mrs Marcos (Denise Tan) reacting to Singapore’s progress in 1981.
Image by Dream Academy.

One of the stand out-laugh out skits is the one involving the wife of Indonesia’s second President Suharto (Selena Tan), Indira Gandhi (Pam Oei) the third prime minister of India, and Imelda Marcos (Denise Tan) who is, of course, the shoe-fetish wife of President Marcos. The year is 1981, and these three important ladies have been invited to Singapore for the opening of the Changi Airport. Jealous and annoyed at Singapore’s progress, and not quite comfortable with each other either, Selena, Denise, and Oei sport absolutely convincing accents and emotions to present a truly side-splitting hilarious segment about our neighbours.

Animal Farm version of Singapore Politics
Animal Farm version of Singapore Politics. Image by Dream Academy.

 

Local politics also gets satired in this production, and with the clever use of connotations and symbolism, the audience easily understands what cannot be said out loud. Lightning Strikes, talk about being pure as “White”, a tall giraffe being told to “Go” – it’s all brilliant portrayed with underlying meaning cheekily passed onto the audience. Satire always suits sensitive subjects, and the Dim Sum Dollies use this device well.

Hossan Leongs joins the Dim Sum Dollies
Hossan Leongs joins the Dim Sum Dollies. Image by Dream Academy.

 

Hossan Leong also features extensively in this production, and although his Indian accent is nowhere as convincing or authentic as Oei’s Indira Gandhi’s one, Leong adds his usual charm, humour, and comedic timing to History of Singapore Part 2’s rollicking vignette of skits.

 

 

 

 

The only slight problem this critic had was that some of the Hokkien and Cantonese phrases weren’t translated into English, and in fact some of the English lyrics weren’t clear either. Subtitles would’ve helped in both cases.

Having said that, Dim Sum Dollies – The History of Singapore Part 2 is certainly a lively and extremely entertaining production that you shouldn’t miss. And in the end when the Dim Sum trio, and Leong, sing a bunch of patriotic Singapore songs and you see rows of Singaporeans waving their mini hand-held flags (don’t worry they’ll provide this during the intermission), you can’t help but feel that under the satire and above the laughter, there is a real and proud celebration of Singapore here. And after everything our island and its people have been through – yes, we deserve it!

Mati-mati, we absolutely deserve it.

 

 

About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.

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