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A French Kiss in Singapore

December 2, 2013
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PrintEvent: “A French Kiss in Singapore” by Sing’Theatre
Venue: SOTA Drama Theatre
Run: 27th Nov – 7th Dec 2013

Love and Other Accidents

Sing’Theatre presents a delightful little production celebrating the music and songs of four of France’s most celebrated songwriters – Charles Aznavour, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Brel and Charles Trenet – in the form of a four-man cast featuring the likes of Hossan Leong, George Chan, Robin Goh and Linden Furnell.

Even for those (such as myself) who aren’t entirely familiar with the French pop music oeuvre, one can’t help but recognise the familiar strains of crossover hit songs such as Trenet’s “Beyond the Sea” and Brel’s “Seasons in the Sun”, and not to mention the sultry, erotic sounds of Gainsbourg’s “Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus”.

So in many ways it was very much like French Pop Music 101, where we were taken through a whirlwind 90 minutes of some of the most exquisite and well-loved French songs ever written.

It definitely didn’t hurt that the 4 actors exuded excellent stage chemistry, bravely trudging along even despite niggling mic issues for both Linden and Robin midway through, and giving their all in every song in every scene.

The scenes were a good mix of slow, pensive ballads – Hossan doing “La Bohème”, Linden doing “Amsterdam” on solo guitar, George doing “Beyond the Sea”, and also lively comedic numbers – the entire ensemble doing “Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus” replete with the signature groans and moans, and Hossan acting as the little girl in “Lollipops”, so as to keep the audience engaged throughout.

And engaged they were, as the show was constructed well-enough such that, despite the relative unfamiliarity of most of the songs to the non French-speaking audience members, the energy level in the room hardly sagged throughout the 90 minutes, which is a testament to both the performers as well as the way the song numbers were sequenced.

A shout-out goes also to the tight four-piece band comprising Ben Kiley (musical director & keyboards), Daniel Chai (guitar), Brandon Wong (double bass) and Lee Lin Chow (drums), for providing beautiful accompaniment throughout the show.

George Chan once again showcases his choreographic talent in many of the dance sequences, which the rest of the cast valiantly pulled off.

You should not expect to hear too many familiar tunes at “A French Kiss in Singapore”, especially if you aren’t entirely well-versed with French popular music, but what you can be sure of is that you’ll get 90 minutes of engaging music, competent singing, delightful dancing, and an overall entertaining experience from four of the most talented men in the business.

You may or may not get that “Oh, I didn’t know that song was originally a French tune!” moment, but you’d most likely come away with a newfound appreciation for French pop music as a whole.

Who knows, you may even catch yourself humming a French tune or two on your way home.

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