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A Singaporean in Paris

March 18, 2014

ASingaporeanInParis2014-1Event: “A Singaporean in Paris” by Sing’theatre
Venue: SOTA Drama Theatre
Run: 11th – 23rd March 2014

Viva La Paris

“A Singaporean in Paris”, the popular sold-out revue first staged in 2010, makes a triumphant return once again four years later, and this time round Linden Furnell, Peter Ong, Mina Kaye and Vicky Williamson join the only original cast member Hossan Leong in telling the story of a young Singaporean man named KQ (played by Hossan) and his ups and downs while seeking new adventures in the famed city of Paris.

As with many of Sing’theatre’s other shows, “A Singaporean in Paris” draws heavily from the oeuvre of popular French songs, and the most natural comparison one would reach for would be their last production “A French Kiss in Singapore”, which not only starred both Hossan and Linden as well, but was also largely a rendition of popular French tunes.

However, there is a much stronger and more distinct storyline to “A Singaporean in Paris”, and one couldn’t help but relate deeply to Hossan’s struggles as a Singapore lad arriving in a foreign land, trying desperately to get his papers done, learning to adapt to the new culture, meeting quirky new friends and so on.

Certain anecdotes were hilarious, such as the part about bringing his rice cooker along with him to Paris, or the part about buying just the fish head at the wet market, or even the part about how the French always undercook their steaks, but ultimately they were so entertaining because of the way he told them, in the way that only Hossan the master comedian can.

And while I would stop short of calling this a full-fledged musical (“revue” would be the more appropriate term here), it is remarkable how the creative team managed to cull from a variety of French pop songs to fit so perfectly into each particular scene, with the lyrics having a high level of relevance to the particular emotional point in the show.

Apart from Hossan, the rest of the cast give great performances as well, each having their time in the sun with demanding solo numbers of their own, although I did find it hard to place Peter Ong’s accent, considering he was supposed to play the role of another Singaporean guy in Paris.

“A Singaporean in Paris” is chock-full with songs, with enough tunes to keep everyone happy.

The script is well-written with characters mostly well fleshed-out, and at the end you get the satisfying feeling of having taken a long journey with KQ and the four friends, however melancholic or wistful the ending may be.

Yes, Paris may exist as the glorified City of Love to those who only know of it through the movies, but beneath the veneer is a city of people with hopes, dreams, aspirations and stories to tell.

“A Singaporean in Paris” is a delightful and intimate journey through the grittier side of Paris, performed by five immensely talented and indefatigable actors, and backed by a dependable four-piece band.

It’s taken four years for this production to be restaged, and who knows when it’ll ever return again, so if this sounds like your kind of thing, then go do yourself a favour and catch it soon.

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