From the creator of smash hit performances NANTA and Jump comes an all new collaboration between Korea and Singapore. Resorts World Sentosa presents Choi Chul Ki’s CHEF: Bibimbap VS Chilli Crab, a dance-comedy-musical extravaganza featuring a battle of culinary skills between two chefs.
Much of CHEF revolves around the act of clowning, often employing irreverent humour through its two very talented MCs – Park Seongjun as Rhythm Chef and Wii Daehan as MC Chef, who wowed us with their beatboxing skills throughout, providing every sound effect and backing track to the performance, whether it was the sizzling of flames or a blow to the face. Both MCs even got the spotlight all to themselves when they performed solos and beatboxed an impressive medley of songs together.
Each of the acts in CHEF involve exaggerating each step in the cooking process from boiling a chicken to even throwing balls of noodle ‘dough’ at the audience (including a gigantic balloon that got tossed around during one segment). There’s something incredibly delightful in these little surprises, never quite knowing what the cast will spring on the audience next, and you’ll be wide-eyed and hungry for the next dish at every turn.
Cast members are almost always verging on performing something ridiculous and completely unexpected, with local actress Hayley Woo (as Cutie Chef) singing a song about sushi that segues into a creative sequence with glow in the dark fish, or the Korean ‘Rookie Chef’ (Yang Donghyun) and ‘Iron Chef’ (Choi Junggil) trying a dish that imbues them with enough energy to perform impressive B-boy acts, from headspins to windmills.
What is most impressive about the show is each cast member’s total commitment to the role, and they’re at their best when they’re having fun with their inane pranks, infecting audience members with their energy. Red Chef (Yu Seonghyun) and Green Chef (Woo Youngwook), for example, always play up their rivalry to extremes, and when one of them one-ups the other, there is a genuine quality to their reactions that manages to come off as somewhat charming.
For better or worse, one of the greatest risks that CHEF takes is its overreliance on audience participation. So much of the show involves it that if a selected audience member does not fully immerse him/herself in her role, the energy dips and the segment ends up much weaker than it could have been. On the flipside, a particularly enthusiastic audience member during the show we watched for example, made ‘Sexy Chef’s’ (Ko Eun Hee) segment particularly memorable, which showcased her vocal prowess as she sang and literally knocked the other cast members off their feet with her sex appeal, and the selected audience member followed suit, as well as joining in a ludicrous dance segment. Also, it pays to be an enthusiastic volunteer; each one of the participants were given a voucher from one of RWS’ restaurants to spend, and we thought it was a pretty clever way of weaving in product placement without being crass.
If you’re planning on seeing CHEF, think of it as seeing a variety show, and let its physical humour wash over you. Allow your mind to accept the weird world it sets up and give yourself over to its unusual aesthetic and its not-quite-Masterchef hi-jinks. Although there probably won’t be any Michelin stars awarded to this establishment, CHEF certainly makes for an amusing and tastefully entertaining night, made fun with its enthusiastic, energetic and talented cast.
Photo Credit: Resorts World Sentosa Facebook
Performance attended 16/6/17
CHEF: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab plays at Resorts World Sentosa from 10th June to 22nd July. Tickets available from SISTIC