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Jeremy’s “Buttons in the Bread” Theatre Accolades 2010!

December 13, 2010
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The year-end always lends itself well to a time of reflection and of stock-taking.

Between Ilkosa and I, I would say we’ve caught quite a fair bit of theatre works this year.

This is actually the first year that I’ve been seriously following theatre, and I don’t think I’ve ever attended that many shows in any one year before.

Anyhow, without further ado, let’s begin with my own quirky theatre picks for the year 2010.

(I believe Ilkosa will come up with her own set of accolades some time soon.)

As always, these choices are utterly biased as they represent my own honest tongue-in-cheek views and nothing else.

No offence to anyone, ok! =)

Most Enjoyable Productions:

1) “Cinderel-lah!” – Oldie but goldie. Call it version 2.0 if you will, but “Cinderel-lah!” at its core remains W!ld Rice’s crowning achievement in the field of musical theatre, with the finest set of Elaine Chan songs to boot.

2) “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” – Strength of material coupled with competent execution made this tiny little production put up by the Lasalle College of the Arts Musical Theatre Programme a true joy to behold.

3) “Chestnuts 3-D: Fried Monty aka A Nightmare on Glee Street” – Cutting-edge satirical humour from Jonathan Lim and gang that is at times almost too clever for its own good. Still the wittiest comic writer around.

Least Enjoyable Productions:

1) “The Cabinet” by The ETCeteras – An all-out cringefest replete with banal off-colour jokes and double entendres that grew tiresome from the get-go, with a non-existent plot to top it all off.

2) “Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral” – The actors put up a fine portrayal of a sense of being collectively trapped and lost in many of the scenes, but I think the audience might have been the ones who were truly disoriented by this entire production.

3) “Ma Goes Home” – Something just wasn’t right about this production. On paper it would have made a good play (heck, it won Best New Play at “Theatre Idols”), but somehow something got lost in the execution.

The Weirdest & Most Surreal Play Award:

“Unlike Some People” – The entire premise and denouement of the play (essentially “The Lady from Dubuque”) was utterly strange and left me really uncomfortable throughout. The weird sets and erratic acting didn’t help matters much. Highly disturbing experience.

The “This Actually Turned Out Much Better Than I Thought It Would” Award:

“Metamorphoses” – It could have been a combination of the cast (rookie ensemble COLLAB theatre), the subject matter (Greek mythology), and the venue (Substation Theatre) that kept my hopes admirably low before the show, but I ended up lapping up the entire production.

The “Why Is Everyone Falling Head Over Heels With This? Am I Missing Out On Something Here?” Award:

“Poop” – No offence, Tze Chien. It’s a thorougly fascinating and provocative play, but “Poop” seems to have achieved some sort of cult-like status whereas I just wasn’t able to fully connect with it. As Sting would say, “it’s probably me”.

The “Surely They Could Have Done A Better Job With That Kind Of A Budget” Award:

“Fried Rice Paradise” – You could just tell that it was backed by a pretty huge budget, but the quality of writing (both book and songs) left a lot to be desired.

The “Nah, There’s No Way It’s Going To Grow Any Longer Than Tha…Whoooaa!!!” Award:

“Pinocchio” – Talk about stretching an idea to its extreme. I don’t think there was a single person in the audience who expected Pinocchio’s nose to grow that long! One of my fondest theatrical moments of the year.

The “This Gives Me Hope That Musicals Don’t Always Have To Be Gazillion-Dollar Productions To Be Thoroughly Entertaining” Award:

“The Water Coolers” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” – The good news is that both offerings were relatively small-scaled, low-budget affairs whereby the strength of book, lyrics, music, and talent were the main driving forces that carried the show along. The bad news is that neither productions were put up by a local theatre company. Anyhow, it renews one’s faith that money alone doesn’t always guarantee a good musical.

The “There’s Just Absolutely No Way This Production Is Going To Turn Out Badly Even If It Tried” Award:

“Emily of Emerald Hill” – Could a production of Stella Kon’s revered text, starring the irrepressible Margaret Chan, in what was the final performance at the venerable Victoria Theatre possibly ever go wrong? You couldn’t jinx it even if you tried.

The “So Intense You Couldn’t Even Cut The Air With A Knife” Award:

“Blackbird” – Daniel Jenkins and Emma Yong face off in a room for 75 whole minutes, enacting David Harrower’s award-winning play. The tension was so thick you hardly knew when to breathe.

The “If This Isn’t Pure Comedic Talent, Then I Don’t Know What Is” Award:

Judee Tan – For her glorious turns as Ivory Low in “Chestnuts 3D” and as TCM in “The Hossan Leong Show Episode 2”. Pure comedic gold.

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