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A Christmas Cabaret

December 5, 2013
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PosterEvent: “A Christmas Cabaret” by Sight Lines Productions
Venue: Lowercase Cafe @ LASALLE College of the Arts
Run: 4th – 7th Dec 2013

Have Yourselves a Merry Little Christmas

It’s been awhile since I last visited the cafe at LASALLE, and what was formerly the 15 Minutes Cafe is now known as the Lowercase Cafe.

It still looks roughly the same with the same decor and feel, and the food is still very decent while being reasonably-priced…but I realise I am starting to digress.

“A Christmas Cabaret” is, as the title suggests, an informal little cabaret show filled with familiar Christmas tunes, put together by directors Mohamad Shaifulbahri & Derrick Chew, and features six talented students from LASALLE – Edwin Tsien, Melissa Gan, Crenshaw Yeo, Catherine Campion, Matheus Ting and Valerie Choo.

I’ve seen quite a number of shows featuring LASALLE students over the years and they’ve never failed to impress with their immense talent, and this time was no different.

From the opening ensemble number “Seasons of Love”, it was apparent that this cabaret show would feature a healthy mix of both Christmas and Broadway numbers.

Valerie would be the first to do a solo item (“My Grown-up Christmas List”), and I particularly liked her crystal clear, Disney-like voice, which I imagine would work very well in a stage musical.

Her duet with Matheus (“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”) was probably one of the more tender moments in the show, while Catherine would thereafter demonstrate her incredible set of pipes with “All I Want for Christmas is You”.

One of the comedic highlights of the evening was the Christmas Story retold via a series of Broadway tunes, and Crenshaw did the honours by playing narrator while the cast belted out diverese stage tunes from “The Lion King” to “My Fair Lady” to “Jersey Boys”…and even to “Chang and Eng”!

Perhaps the most audacious musical arrangement attempt of the evening had to be Crenshaw singing the first verse of Lloyd Webber’s “Music of the Night”, and thereafter attempting to mash it up with good ol’ “Silent Night”.

The sceptic in me grimaced for a number of seconds before I finally accepted the fact that it could be done (what with changing time signatures and all), and it didn’t hurt that Crenshaw – together with Catherine – was one of the strongest singers in the entire ensemble, with wonderful vocal control and technique.

It was a slight pity that he didn’t quite manage to nail the high note in “Music of the Night” cleanly though (you know, that note) – considering the build-up to it was fantastic – but I am very confident that it was purely a case of opening night nerves and that he would have no problems with it henceforth.

Another musical number of note was the Michael Jackson medley towards the end of the show, in promoting awareness for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which featured “We Are The World”, “Heal The World”, and “Man in the Mirror”.

I thought it was a nice touch and it really got the entire cafe grooving along together.

Apart from the fact that the performers’ voices couldn’t always be heard clearly due to their distance away from the mics, as well as a few cases of opening night jitters, “A Christmas Cabaret” exceeded my expectations by some margin.

I particularly enjoyed the cosy atmosphere in the cafe, the sheer enthusiasm of the ensemble, as well as the amount of thought that was put into structuring the show.

There’s a certain intimate vibe to this show that you’d hardly find anywhere else these days.

There might be something in the water at LASALLE, because they’ve certainly got some serious talent on their hands.

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