Hang Qian Chou stars as the titular ‘Hay Bee’, which translates to ‘dried shrimp’, in this one man play. Written by Desmond Sim, Shrimps In Space follows the life of Lim Huat Bee as he grows up and navigates life as a scrawny kid and the terrifying world of school, girls and more.
Shrimps in Space takes the audience on a journey from Hay Bee’s primary school life all the way through to adulthood. Hay Bee is an introvert by nature, finding it difficult to make friends, save for his one best friend ‘King Kong’ (also played by Qian Chou), a tough, high-achieving boy who’s the polar opposite of Hay Bee. When the two team up, it seems like they can overcome anything together, living a life with its share of ups and downs.
Despite a slow start, Qian Chou’s performance managed to endear itself to the audience, breaking hearts just before the intermission when tragedy strikes, leading to a quietude in the audience, reflecting in silence. Post-intermission, Hay Bee reaches adulthood, and drifts further from the high flying King Kong as he enters into his career as a primary school teacher. Although the two have embarked on different paths in life, they manage to find their way into each other’s lives again via a twisted path involving karaokes and even King Kong’s wedding. The play ends on a somber note which may well have audience members shedding a tear or two, but manages to drive home its message of the value of friendship in an uncertain world.
Shrimps in Space capitalises on the script’s ability to bring audiences to tears from both laughter and tragedy, which Qian Chou manages to do, apart from switching between characters fluidly with a change in voice and body posture. Desmond Sim’s script may be old, but it certainly isn’t outdated, still trumpeting strongly its universal and timeless messages of friendship and growing up that will be familiar to just about any male in the audience. With a blast of nostalgic songs to set the time frame and believable dialogue, coupled with just enough drama and humour, Shrimps will leave you smiling as you look back on the good old days and look forward to even better ones still to come. Congratulations to Generasia on a successful play!
Shrimps in Space plays at the SOTA Studio Theatre from till 13 November. Tickets available from SISTIC.