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Army Daze

August 27, 2012
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Event: Army Daze
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Run: 21st – 26th Aug 2012
Directed by: Beatrice Chia-Richmond
Songs by: Don Richmond

In the past 25 years, Army Daze has been staged, re-staged and even made to a movie. However, this was my first experience of Army Daze, and I wondered why I never managed to catch any of the earlier versions. Now 25 years on, I believe Army Daze is still relevant to let us catch a glimpse of army life (for gals like me), and for those who have gone through NS, to reminisce about it.

The story was told in the perspective of Malcolm (Dwayne Tan) with narratives between scenes and an occasional musical number. Naturally, the show was updated with references of current times, of technological and social ‘progress’. Going in with little clue of what to expect, it was hugely entertaining, and had me laughing out loud at various points with the way different characters from different walks of life came together, regardless of race, language or religion. I don’t know about others, but amongst the main cast of recruits, my favourite was Joshua Lim’s ‘Ah Beng’. Don’t know lah, maybe there was something very Singaporean or down-to-earth about this Ah Beng. I feel Joshua has potential to develop further in his musical theatre career, with already quite a few in his resume. Shane Mardjuki’s ‘Kenny’ was also rather effective in causing much laughter with his beauty and fashion concerns. The show also did not forget to highlight the disparity between new foreign migrants who do not need to serve NS, unlike the locals, as the recruits expressed their army woes.

Besides the main cast, the show was strongly supported with the likes of Siti Khalijah and Chua Enlai. Chua Enlai tickled with his ‘powderful’ English and irrelevant quotes, while Siti was multi-cast as Johari’s mother, Krishna’s maid and of course, Sgt Khatib who would break out in song during briefings. The maid portion was however, a bit out of place though, but I guess it was to make a dig about the maid carrying NS man’s full pack incident. On another point, I’m not sure what’s the role of ‘The Man’ played by Darius Tan (who gave out the “grandfather” book), in the guise of a Tony Tan lookalike.

And in a very functional flushed background set, bunks, rooms/homes, jungles and spaces were easily created with a simple switching of props. The many doors aided the transition and choreography, and allowed for different access points, while the tapered look kept our focus.

All in all, I found the production quite enjoyable, bringing home the daze of army life in a most light-hearted manner.

At the end of it all, we watch the boys mature as they weather through this passage of their lives in comradeship with others. I believe not just a few will smile back at those times as each NS man sees a bit of themselves in each batch that follows.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 27, 2012 9:56 pm

    Hey, my most favourite recruit was Ah Beng (Joshua Lim) too!

    Followed by the narrator, Malcolm (Dwayne Tan).

    Then Kenny (Shane Mardjuki).

    After that Krishna (Ebi Shankara) & Johari (Adi Jamaludin) at the same rank.

    =)

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