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iChestnuts 15

January 10, 2012
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Event: ‘iChestnuts 15’ by Stages
Venue: Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel
Run: 5-21 January 2012

It’s been more than a year since I visited Jubilee Hall for the last “Chestnuts instalment and it was hilarious! Jonathan Lim never fails to push your right buttons when it comes to humour.

With the watershed elections of 2011, it was inevitable for the show to not have that included, and in great abundance with “Into the Booths” (spoof “Woods“) which took a rather huge segment, including the post-intermission opening sequence – “you thought that it was over?…back to the booths with the PE”. Haha…how coincidentally apt. And not without a mix of Wicked spoofing, with the tunes of “Defying PAP” and “Popular” (or “PAPular”?), i.e. Nicole vs TPL (no prize guessing who’s “Glinda” and who’s “Elphaba”). And the “princely duo” from Woods, couldn’t be forgotten with their dilemma of who to vote for. The “agony”. I still recall the scene when they had to flash a slide because the audience didn’t get the initial reference to the “citizen”. And in relation, an inevitable dig with “The Yam’s Speech” segment (King’s Speech), of our favourite returning officer, complete with cup noodles.

As it was the 15th anniversary, the show format included a recap of some of the highlights in Chestnuts history including the amazing reprise of alternating between Home and 《请你告诉他》. However, I think I particularly liked the Matrix segment, drawing, I believe, from the train station scene in Matrix Revolutions (somehow I never got round to watching both Reloaded or Revolutions in full, so hope I’m right!). I didn’t watch all the Chestnuts instalments, so it was a good look at what happened before, but not without some refresh of content I believe.

As a quick theatre rundown of the productions in 2011, one could not forget our most hardworking actress ‘Karen Tan’ whom Judy Ngo played. Capitalising on the “split personalities” from the monologue “To Whom It May Concern“, “Karen” takes on many roles. I could hear someone behind me saying, “Karen Tan again?”. I could well identify with all the shows they enacted since I watched all of them except for Kuu. “Feedback” anyone?

And with the surge of K-pop culminating in 2011, our dikir barat 3MM might really hold their own!

One of the funniest segment would have to be the Pandannewsasia segment. The Singapore team swimming trunks saga and Equus were mentioned, but nothing beats Ivory Low Ah Kew (“Low IQ”), this time with her SISRIS app for iPhone 4Ass, and not without audience participation. Honestly, if I had to converse with someone like that, I would be super frustrated, but it was simply too funny here!

In a ‘dramatic ending segment’, the spoofed opening sequence of Lion King was super funny too and there was born a merlion at the Bay with our own The Little Mermaid.

There’s too much to cover like the ad placements for sponsors, the SSO Nokia ringtones, etc. and even if I didn’t get some things, who cares? If you need a good laugh, go get tickets now. It made me forget myself for that moment. However, I must say you’ll appreciate the spoofs more if you had caught or known of the staged or screen productions that the production draws on (as with all spoofing productions), and also if you’re familiar with the Singapore context.

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