Arts Comedy Preview Singapore Theatre

Preview: Chestnuts – Sibeh Strange in the Multiverse

In the West, Christmas is all about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. But here in Singapore, we’ve been missing those chestnuts for a long time now. No, not gao lak, but beloved parody sketch show Chestnuts, who last put up a show a whole seven years ago. This November, the team are back with a whole new production, with Chestnuts – Sibeh Strange in the Multiverse here to spoof their way through the whole multi-meta-verse, and bring some much needed laughs to your holiday season.

From Doctor Strange to Michelle Yeoh, buskers to Black Panther 2, Stranger Things to Squid Game, Ah Girls Go Army to this year’s National Day Parade, The LKY Musical to the downfall of NFTs, audiences will find Chestnuts more wickedly topical than ever with their unique crossover parody style. Written and directed by creator Jonathan Lim, Chestnuts features sketches that skewer films, current affairs, celebrities, theatre, and everything else in between.

Says Jonathan Lim on the return of Chestnuts: ‘Bringing Chestnuts back in 2022 is really sibeh strange. At the last show, Singapore was 50 and had just lost a founding father. Since then, the world order has been rocked, brand new forms of money and investment have risen (and possibly fallen), and pop culture has welcomed new icons. What’s been most heartening though is the fans who’ve been waiting for our comeback, who’ve been nudging us every year and wishing we were there to spoof this and that – we missed our Chestnutters!’

The comeback show features Chestnuts mainstays Jonathan Lim and Judy Ngo, with new spoofers Nelson Chia, Audrey Luo and Timothy Wan joining them. The team also features Elaine Chan, who composed the music, and is produced by Singapore Street Festival.

Traditionally, the show selects its spoof targets from the year past. The seven years since the last showing of Chestnuts has given Lim such a smorgasbord of parody material that it can only be embraced with the concept of a multiverse, which has only gained popularity and traction in the public eye since the release of several major blockbuster films.

Elaborating on the spoof selection process, Jonathan explains: ‘The topics that lock in earliest are the ones that fall into thematic patterns early, or that find their perfect partner to be cross-spoof with. With 7 years of crazy, and in this uncertain year of recovery, the shape of this year’s show is much more multifaceted and unpredictable. The most thrilling (and most challenging) aspect will be capturing the very concept of multiversality itself, translated to the stage. The usual Chestnuts is already a crazy roller-coaster, but this year, it will be a multi-coaster, weaving comedic method through the madness.’ Some sneaks from the show include: the feud between Stephen Strange and Evelyn Wang, the crazy rich rise of Asia in Hollywood, and the upcoming SGuid Games!

For fans who’ve been waiting, and for first-time audiences alike, this year’s Chestnuts is not to be missed. ‘It’s going to be a very META show’, said Jonathan. ‘Fans know that Chestnuts has always revelled in self-reflexive comedy – that’s at the heart of parody anyway – but this time, that self-disrupting cheekiness will be an anarchic celebration of sliding through the multiverse.’ Just like a certain Malaysian actress taking over Hollywood, this year’s Chestnuts promises to be everything, everywhere, all at once!

Chestnuts – Sibeh Strange in the Multiverse runs from 25th November to 11th December 2022 at the Drama Centre Theatre. Tickets available from SISTIC

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