Dwayne Lau and friends showcase love in all its forms in this brave, heartfelt show.
Dwayne Lau is a man who cuts to the chase. After all, it’s only the second time he’s staging his sketch/revue show A Date with Dwayne, and already, he’s inviting audience members into his house!
Held at the ITE College Central Black Box, A Date With Dwayne – Let’s Go Steady! is a labour of love by Dwayne and the entire team working on it. But for the team, this is no ordinary job – it’s a show that’s made with all their heart, and beyond simply being a team, are a team of friends.
Tackling the theme of love in each and every one of its forms, A Date with Dwayne’s set is designed to resemble Dwayne’s actual house. Using a theatre in the round setting, with audiences seated comfortably on the floor, the ‘house’ is segmented into four parts, comprising Dwayne’s bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen and the living room. These aren’t just generically designed rooms either – in the living room for example, we see food-shaped cushions, and Dwayne reveals that these are actual cushions that fellow cast member Siti Khalijah gave to him, adding a layer of realness to the entire performance. Even the programme booklet (designed by Michael Ee with illustrations by Dan Ng) took the form of a do not disturb doorknob sign, fitting in perfectly with the show’s homely aesthetic.
As Dwayne leads us on a tour around his living premises, we’re simultaneously introduced to the many characters that live inside him which he’s developed over the years in the comfort and creative space that is his bedroom. From an adult Cupid to spandex-clad superheroes to even an Indian prata man, each imaginary friend that comes out is unforgettable in their own way with spirited performances and simple yet effective costumes. Being such good friends with each of his cast members, Dwayne shares an incredible chemistry with all of them, leading to performances that left us chortling with laughter and touched us with their sincerity.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the night was Ryan Ang. Known primarily as a dancer, A Date With Dwayne put Ryan in the spotlight and gave him a chance to act as well. Ryan portrayed his characters well in each scene he appeared in, such as a yoga instructor beset by three lusty aunties attending his class, the familiarity of such a situation in real life giving it its humour. In another scene, he appears as the object of affection of a lovelorn florist (Dwayne Lau in drag), and his performance really helped drive home that scene’s message of the inevitability of encountering unrequited love, and really showed Ryan’s acting range and what he truly was capable of.
Meanwhile, Ethel Yap’s vocal and emotional range was on full display in her duet with Dwayne on ’Three Little Words’ from Ghost The Musical, while Siti Khalijah excels at her comedic roles like the pro that she is, her comic timing impeccable and her banter with Dwayne laugh out loud as an Indian woman interacting with a prata man. Each cast member was able to showcase their wide repertoire of acting, singing and dancing in this show, and left us both impressed and with a feeling of warmth inside.
Amidst the joy and slapstick humour, Dwayne eventually also touched on the loss of love, in this case, performing a tribute to his late mother with his sister Daphne, who composed a song just for the occasion. This was a moment where Dwayne was left completely open with all his vulnerabilities on show, and it was clear that everyone in the audience was moved by this gesture (with some even moved to tears), understanding the harsh reality that one should cherish all the time one has with their loved ones, because you never really know what might happen tomorrow.
With the mood eventually lifted again with a medley of love songs and even a birthday cake presented to Dwayne (for his 36th birthday!), the space was filled completely with love and endless smiles from both the cast and adoring audience members. It’s certainly one way to celebrate a birthday in style, and A Date With Dwayne is a show that Dwayne should be extremely proud of for creating, having delivered something so genuinely heartfelt, touching and personal.
Performance attended 23/2/18
A Date With Dwayne plays from 23rd – 24th February at ITE College Central Black Box. Tickets are sold out.