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M1 Patch! 2018: Round Round Buns by Chop Chilli Chop Co. (Review)

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A fun, alternative way to break the ice on difficult topics. 

These days, it can be incredibly difficult to raise discussion on certain topics without raising eyebrows or incurring the wrath of those with opposing views. How then does one find the safe space to bring these issues into the light and create stimulating conversation? With Round Round Buns, Chop Chili Chop Co. has arrived on the scene to answer exactly that.

Set in a ‘virtual world’ brought to life, Round Round Buns is a unique experience that is part games night part theatre performance and part house party. From the moment one steps into The Theatre Practice’s Tuckshop, one already feels welcomed at the front of house by Ang Xiao Ting and Tan Wei Qing. There is the sense that one has been personally invited to this party, complete with being served skewers handgrilled by The Theatre Practice artistic director herself Kuo Jianhong and her team.

As with any online platform, the first step is to come up with one’s own username, and Round Round Buns allows guests to put any name they want on the nametag they’re given (cheeky ones are of course, encouraged), emulating the anonymity of Internet identities and monikers. Armed with a complimentary beverage, it’s finally time to get the party started. Despite not knowing most of the guests in attendance, Chop Chili Chop Co. have managed to create a relaxed atmosphere one would feel comfortable in talking about just any topic, and engaging fully with all the other guests around. 

The Tuckshop feels like the perfect location to stage this show, with its small but cosy space and decorated to look exactly like a house party, complete with fairy lights, lovingly framed film posters, and plenty of pop tunes playing. For this edition of Round Round Buns, the company has decided to tackle the topic of gender, which, while potentially provocative, was discussed in an accessible, enjoyable manner when led and moderated by all four members of Chop Chili Chop Co. 

Each of the four performers (Sim Xin Yi, Ang Xiao Ting, Tan Wei Qing and Zoea Tania) feel trustworthy, each taking on whimsical versions of familiar female archetypes – a pregnant lady to a ‘towkay neo’, a mystical oracle to even a damsel in distress clutched by a King Kong hand, managing to cover the entire spectrum of womanhood across their roles. Split into different ‘squads’ (yes, you’ll be tasked to come up with an awesome squad name), audiences are then invited to play a series of games ranging from ‘Word Up’ to ‘Truth or Dare’. These games are each themed around issues of gender, and while never diving deep into each issue, raises an entire spectrum of topics to act as food for thought that gives Round Round Buns plenty of breadth. The sheer enthusiasm of the four moderators makes audience members feel comfortable enough say just about anything they wish to and express any opinion, while the fact that each game leverages on points can cause some very interesting, and potentially controversial responses from each audience member when they’re forced to choose between winning and their own ‘morals’.

It is testament to their ability and instincts in improv and handling audience members that Chop Chili Chop Co. has managed to ease the entire crowd into opening up and interacting with complete strangers, raising plenty of intellectual dough audiences knead out over a very fun night. Through Round Round Buns, Chop Chili Chop Co. has crafted an effective method for making broaching difficult and potentially taboo topics easier to approach, hosting a madcap yet poignant party we’d be more than happy to dive into once again in future iterations.

Performance attended 17/8/18

Round Round Buns played at the Tuckshop, The Theatre Practice from 17th – 19th August 2018 as part of the M1 Patch! Festival. M1 Patch! A Theatre Festival of Artful Play runs from 1st – 31st August 2018. For more details and tickets, visit The Theatre Practice

 

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