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Chestnuts 3D…Too Funny!

August 28, 2010

Event: Chestnuts 3-D: Fried Monty aka A Nightmare on Glee Street
Venue: Jubilee Hall
Run: 25th Aug – 4th Sept 2010

I have never caught the “Chestnuts” series before, so it was with great anticipation that I entered the Jubilee Hall tonight.

This is “Chestnuts'” 14th year in existence, and I am aware that the annual sketch-comedy franchise, starring the talented foursome of Jonathan Lim, Dwayne Lau, Rodney Oliveiro, and Judee Tan this year, has garnered for itself a cult following by now, which is evident from the healthy turnout at tonight’s performance.

From my observations, I gather it is a huge hit amongst theatre-goers in their 20’s and 30’s who are looking for hilarious comedy of the satirical nature, as “Chestnuts” takes no prisoners when it comes to parodying all things Singaporean.

First, the name.

I don’t know about you, but “Chestnuts 3-D: Fried Monty aka A Nightmare on Glee Street” might go down as one of the strangest production titles I’ve come across yet.

But that is probably the only knock against the show that I can think of.

The title seems like a mishmash of at least five different things thrown together to form one long unintelligible string – “Fried” Rice Paradise, Avatar “3D”, The Full “Monty”, A “Nightmare” on Elm Street, and “Glee”.

Which is just as well, because the show itself was a mishmash of parodies from “Glee”, to the YOG, to “December Rains”, to Channel News Asia, to Ris Low, to the Singapore floods, to all our local theatre productions in 2010, to “Inception”, to Dick Lee, etc.

The entire show lasted quite long, starting at just after 8pm, and ending at close to 11pm.

(They saved the best stuff for the second act, which is understandable, though I felt that perhaps the entire show could have been trimmed a little as the duration of the entire show might have seemed just a wee bit too long for some.)

Nothing was spared from the vicious pen of Jonathan Lim.

The beauty of “Chestnuts 3D” is that it combines what is in my opinion the two biggest selling points in local theatre – sex and comedy.

And it had them in bucketloads.

Truth be told, “Chestnuts 3D” was an all-out laugh fest.

I would have to say that Jonathan Lim most definitely possesses the element of comic genius.

One cannot praise his comic talent (both in writing and acting) highly enough.

Yes, there were the occasional misses, as is natural in all sketch comedy shows, but to be fair, there were definitely many more hits than misses.

And it is in the lyric-writing that he shows his immense skill and wittiness.

(If only “Fried Rice Paradise” had lyrics half as good as “Chestnuts 3D”.)

Jonathan Lim took many popular hit tunes and threw in his own lyrics, and I would have to say that his lyrics were all extremely well-written.

They made perfect sense, had a good flow, rhymed perfectly, and had incredible punchlines as well.

He even threw in many multiple rhyming words as well, which was incredibly impressive.

My favourite bit of lyric was when he swapped “Alejandro” with “call me Andro”, and also, when he rhymed “Lim Yu Beng” with “YouTub-ing”.

Pure genius.

My vote for funniest segments of the night would have to go to the “December Rains” spoof segment, and the interview segment where the lovely Judee Tan acted as Ris Low’s sister.

(Oh, just to mention that it was by sheer luck and coincidence that the great Kit Chan, who got spoofed a lot in the show, was sitting directly in front of me in the Jubilee Hall.)

Judee Tan is just amazing as an impersonator of Ris Low (and by extension, Ris Low’s fictitious sister “Ivory Low”).

I highly doubt that one could find a better impersonator of Ris Low out there than Judee Tan.

She did a similar spoof on Ris Low last year (here), and it became an instant YouTube sensation.

Lastly, the most impressive segment of the show has got to be Jonathan Lim’s rendition of BOTH “Home” as well as what I assume was one of the songs from “December Rains”, both of which were originally sung by Kit Chan.

(The impetus for this spoof was because Kit Chan had to juggle between doing her run of “December Rains”, and taking a one day National Day break to go perform “Home” at the NDP.)

He literally mixed the two songs into one whilst singing, and switched between the two songs after every few words…which means he switched back and forth at least like, what, 50 times(?) by the time both songs ended.

You just had to see it to believe it.

A truly remarkable feat that mere descriptions will not do justice to.

In conclusion, it would be safe to assume that the “Chestnuts” series will continue long into the future as long as Jonathan Lim wishes for it to continue.

With such talented actors, backed by some of the funniest and wittiest writing in local theatre, you can be sure that the cult of “Chestnuts” will only grow bigger and bigger with every passing year.

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