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Crazy Christmas 2013: Ting Tong Belles

December 15, 2013

CrazyChristmas2013-1(picture courtesy of Dream Academy Productions)

Event: “Crazy Christmas: Ting Tong Belles”
Venue: Esplanade Theatre
Run: 11th – 22nd Dec ’13

As If We Never Said Goodbye

Nothing says “it’s Christmas time” in the theatre scene quite like a traditional staging of the now-staple “Crazy Christmas” show by Dream Academy.

It’s hard to believe that this is now the sixth installment of the popular yuletide series, which has gone from strength to strength and shows no signs of abating.

After last year’s successful “Silver Screen Meets Silver Bells” theme, I wondered if Dream had enough in the tank to keep this franchise chugging along the way it’s been the past few years.

Fortunately, my scepticism was entirely unfounded, because Dream rolls out their biggest trump card to date – the reemergence of the ever-popular Dim Sum Dollies, with Denise Tan joining the group for the first time.

Despite being on hiatus for quite some time, the Dollies hit the ground running and haven’t lost a step at all, and it is fairly obvious that Denise is a natural for the role and fits right into the group.

It would be pointless to try and compare Denise with Emma Yong and we shan’t attempt to go into that, since each bring their own special set of gifts and talents to the table, but let’s just say that this current trio of ladies is as lethal and as entertaining a trio as you would find in local theatre today.

The show’s formula is the same – a usual mixture of yuletide songs, sometimes done in small numbers and sometimes in full ensemble, comedy skit segments, and also the customary appearance by a cappella group Vocaluptuous.

Vocaluptuous plays a much more active role in the show this year, more than I could ever recall, with the group members featuring in a significant number of segments, some of which require acting and dancing as well.

Their pièce de résistance, however, comes towards the end of the show when they do an amazing a cappella rendition of “O Holy Night” a la the version done by ‘N Sync (go YouTube it).

The comedy segments provided plenty of comic relief for a full-house audience clearly in the mood to be tickled.

Some of the segments were evidently a bit hit, such as the one with the Dollies impersonating divas Beyoncé, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, as well as the one where the entire ensemble does a parody of Girls Generation.

Another segment which deserves honourable mention is the video game segment where the ensemble literally recreate iconic video games on stage, with pitch-perfect sound effects to boot.

You had to see it to believe it.

The show’s writers throw in plenty of references to recent pop hits such as “What Does The Fox Say” and “Diamonds”, and even to older songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” as well.

Judee Tan, always an asset to any show, brings her ever-lovable “Dr. Teo Chiew Muay” act to the stage once again.

There have been a number of TCM sightings in the past, such as on last year’s “Crazy Christmas”, as well as on “The Hossan Leong Show” and “Happy Ever Laughter”, and she has never failed to bring the house down every time she takes to the stage.

Her act this time round, however, felt far too short and could definitely have gone on for a good five more minutes.

Kumar, decked out in a lovely Christmas elf outfit, delivers his stand-up routine in his usual deadpan manner and razor-sharp wit while touching on a diverse range of topics, although this year’s material didn’t seem as strong as the stuff he’s done in the past.

And as with any comedy revue, there would be the inevitable skits which didn’t quite hit the mark, and in this case certain skits like Pam Oei’s “partridge” skit, Judee’s “Mrs Santa” skit, and even Sebastian Tan’s “snowman” skit didn’t exactly hit the sweet spot.

But that does not take away from the fact that Dream has practically got the “Crazy Christmas” formula down to an exact science.

There is no other show in town that can quite offer the wacky, hilarious and highly-entertaining 90-minute spectacle that “Crazy Christmas” offers, and bringing back the Dim Sum Dollies is just the perfect icing on an already fabulous festive cake.

It’s been awhile since we last saw the beloved Dollies, and words cannot express what joy it is to be able to see them take to the stage once again.

And if there was a single headline to be written of this show, it would have to be none other than about their triumphant return, and how they look as re-energised as ever.

Yes, everything’s as if we never said goodbye.

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