Light-hearted musical revue rings in the holiday season with joy and laughter.
|Category||Score (out of 10)|
|Direction (Hossan Leong)||8|
|Script (Alison Jean Lester)||7|
|Performance (Amin Alifin, Ethel Yap, Gaby Rae, Hossan Leong, Peter Ong)||8|
|Choreography (George Chan)||9|
|Set Design (Wong Chee Wai)||9|
|Lighting Design (Reuben Ong)||8|
|Sound Design (Shah Tahir)||8|
|Costumes/Hair (Theresa Chan/Ashley Lim)||8|
|Music (Elaine Chan, Chee Wah Yong, Joshua Tan, Lee Lin Chow)||8|
Singaporeans are known to be a relatively risk-averse bunch, where even the holidays we tend to go on are no further than Asia, keeping it close to home and culturally similar. So for anyone to take a leap of faith and move to France is a
In Sing’theatre’s A Singaporean in Paris, that’s exactly what K.Q. does, as he flies to Paris to audition for a local cabaret where, to his surprise – is run by and comprises almost entirely of fellow Singaporean expats! Directed by Hossan Leong, who also plays K.Q., the show then takes audiences on a wild journey through the year K.Q. spends in Paris, serenading us with a series of numbers that showcase the quirks of Parisian life.
As K.Q., Hossan makes for the perfect host and guide, essentially playing a stage version of himself as he peppers the narration with little jokes that compare Singapore and Paris, always affectionate in his love for both cities while eliciting warm laughter from the audience. Early on, Hossan already impresses with his rendition of Comme D’Habitude, while also showing he’s still got the moves as he dances across the stage in several group numbers, mixing comedy and camaraderie.
Meanwhile, his supporting cast also offer their own quirks that allow the characters of A Singaporean in Paris to feel like a found family. Ethel Yap, playing cabaret owner Anne, sees a welcome return to her musical theatre roots, confident in her stage presence and an ease to her voice that immediately endears audiences to her motherly demeanour. Gaby Rae, last seen in Sing’theatre’s Quasimodo – A Musical Story, is set to be the next triple threat to look out for with heartfelt song and graceful movements, in her showstopping number ‘Let Me Dance Tonight’.
Amin Alifin, as the local heartthrob Terry, while not the strongest singer of the cast, makes up for it with his confidence as he glides across the stage as the most accomplished dancer amidst the cast. And finally, Peter Ong rounds off the motley crew as Edmund, with his rendition of ‘Sympathique (je ne veux pas travailler)’ a delight that perfectly captures his character’s exasperation and disillusionment with corporate life.
While the storyline itself is thin, one thinks of A Singaporean in Paris less as an epic musical, and more of a light-hearted, entertaining romp through Parisian life for expats. Dialogue is well-balanced with the selection of songs, which showcase a range of moods, from the dramatic to the humorous. It is the group numbers among these that leave the most impact, from the sunny ‘Paris is at Her Best In May’, to the more oceanic ‘Sea, Sex and Sun’, both showcasing the cast’s strong onstage chemistry as their voices come together to bring the numbers to life, alongside Elaine Chan and her band’s live music.
Perhaps most impressive of all among the design elements are Wong Chee Wai’s set design, which feels like an actual cafe space, filled with details from posters to drinks lining the shelves. Later on, the set also gives way to showcase other scenes, from Paris in springtime, while Reuben Ong’s lighting design works best to illuminate the set and bring out the mood, and is particularly effective during solo numbers, spotlighting the performer in all their glory.
In a year that has felt mostly bereft of lighter, unserious material, A Singaporean in Paris brings a spark of joy to the year end season. This is a quintessential Sing’theatre production that shows off the cheesy but fun side to the company, and feels unpretentious, and oftentimes, like life itself as it takes us on a whirlwind year through a post-pandemic Paris, that welcomes one and all to witness and experience the magic of the city of light.
A Singaporean In Paris ran from 2nd to 13th November 2022 at the Drama Centre Theatre, as part of Voilah France Singapore Festival 2022.