★★★★☆ Review: Crazy Christmas Fun-raising Concert – Keep the DREAM Alive by Dream Academy
The show must go on, as Dream Academy brings back their beloved Crazy Christmas revue to save 2020.
It’s been a tough year for all of us, but if it’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. And for us at least, over the last few years, we’ve come to look forward to our new annual tradition of catching Dream Academy’s Crazy Christmas revue, always a perfect way to end off the year.
Performed at the Esplanade Theatre, with the Christmas lights on, it was time to start the show. And there was no one else I’d rather have seen onstage first than Dream Academy Artistic Director Selena Tan, leading the way for the rest of the Dim Sum Dollies, John Lee and Robin Goh, where they sung a medley of Christmas songs like ‘The First Noel’ and ‘This Little Light of Mine’, accompanied by Fabian Lim on the saxophone. At this point, the cast members began to play a little game of ‘musical chairs’ as they sang, as only 5 cast could be on stage singing at the same time without wearing a mask. In this new normal, it was interesting how we could only have 5 cast members singing at any one point of time, even though there were 9 of them, including Sebastian Tan, the ‘Neokelelims’ (Neo Swee Lin and Lim Kay Siu), and Kumar. At this point, Robin Goh says something apt: what the performers missed most was the love, laughter and applause. And the audience gave them exactly what they craved.
If it’s one element that I’ve missed at live performances, it’s the live band. So you can imagine the joy I had when I watched them accompanying acts like Robin Goh, back on stage again after a 4 year hiatus, as he serenaded us with the piano song. Kay Siu then performed a song he wrote and dedicated to Swee Lin titled ‘She’, before the Neokelelims came together to sing ‘Together’, one of their favourite song to perform each time they go live, which included a mash up of Christmas songs. John Lee then came onstage and sang a song he composed with his brother, titled ‘A Rainy Christmas’. Dedicated to the heat, humidity and heavy rain during this time of year, the song also reminded us of what Christmas is all about, leaving me with a warm fuzzy feeling after.
Sebastian then arrived onstage in his docile pink Santa suit, perfectly suited for the joyous occasion. As Broadway Beng, he managed to bring out and connect to the Hokkien beng in all of us. And with his latest composition “Hungry Hungry”, he certainly charmed us every time he got onstage, thanks to his endearing stage presence. Meanwhile, Pam Oei shines in her solo segment, with a comedic explanation of how bats have been mistreated and misunderstood.
One highlight of every edition of Crazy Christmas has to be the iconic Dim Sum Dollies, and this time around, OG Dollies Selena and Pam were joined by new addition Jo Tan. The Dollies showed off their range and ingenuity at coming up with brilliant sketches, not only introducing us to a wide variety of birds and their behaviours, but also their quick wit with how they creatively explained the latest news and developments to the COVID-19 situation only just announced by the government. A standout part of their segment included the three of them coming out in the iconic sarong kebaya donned by SIA stewardesses, ready for the re-training and prepared with the ‘3Ps’, making for a beautiful tribute to the Singapore girl.
Of course, Dream Academy also had one of their best in the line-up as well, with Singapore’s queen of comedy Kumar. While known for his naughtier jokes, this being a family-friendly, G-rated show, Kumar was on his best behaviour this time, instead teaching us how not to spend our SingapoRediscover vouchers. His unbridled confidence and stage presence was strong as always, and we knew we could count on him rounding off the show on a high note.
Ending the evening with a medley of Christmas songs. With all the challenges that Dream academy had to leap over and overcome, they have definitely done themselves and us proud! We are reminded again of the Christmas spirit and what it was all about: to be around family, friends, loved ones and all the people we care about. And for me, this was the perfect remedy for a tough 2020 and a cheery, heartening way to look forward to 2021.
Crazy Christmas Fun-Raising Concert – Keep the DREAM Alive plays from 15th to 20th December 2020 at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets available from SISTIC