★★★☆☆ Review: Out-of-Bounds by Fill The Vamp

Theatrical debut of new musical theatre group explores womanhood through song.

CategoryScore (out of 10)
Direction (Kimberly Chan)6
Performance (Kimberly Chan, Natalie Yeap, Dinie Zainuddin)6
Music (Jane Foo, Jaime Lee)8
Lighting (Enqi Lee)7
Sound Design (Jean Yap)6
Costume (Johanna Pan)7
Total40/60 (67%)
Final Score:★★★☆☆

It is always an exciting moment when a new group or company makes their theatrical debut. And after months of producing online content and small performances, new musical theatre collective Fill The Vamp have made their start in the local scene with their first ever ticketed show – Out-of-Bounds.

Directed by Kimberly Chan, and starring Chan, Natalie Yeap and Dinie Zainudin, Out-of-Bounds was a new musical revue that explores the various boundaries set onto a woman’s life. Conceived by an all-women creative team, Out-of-Bounds uses familiar musical theatre numbers to weave a story about what it means to be a woman today, from dealing with who and what those around today’s women say they should be, to finding love and negotiating romantic relationships, and eventually gracefully taking steps to embrace their authentic selves.

Supported by Music Director Jane Foo on the keyboard and percussionist Jaime Lee, Out-of-Bounds weaves together a thin storyline that tells the tale of three Singaporean women feeling lost in life. Starting with a group number to Anybody Have a Map? (from Dear Evan Hansen), the pieces begin to segue into other numbers exploring pining and desire (Maybe This Time from Cabaret) to fear of commitment (Getting Married Today from Company). The mix of songs is an interesting one, where less recognised musicals are also represented, including Pippin, Cry-Baby: The Musical and The Rink, and essentially seems to form a favourites playlist for the performers, who evidently enjoy performing each number, from the smiles on their faces.

The show is not without its flaws, from harmonising that is off at times, and certain songs that are out of the singing range of the performers they are tagged to. Some numbers are decent, but as a whole, with a lack of script, the songs begin to collapse into one another with similar sound and lack of clear characterisation, and it becomes hard to follow what exactly is going on without the cast resorting to a few camp, gimmick pieces (such as Kimberly adopting a faux Chinese accent in Miss Byrd from Closer Than Ever).

There is some attempt at making the revue more cohesive, with original spoken word lip syncs to faux ‘advertisements’ targeting insecurities, vaguely commenting on the little freedom that women enjoy even when it comes to what to buy to live up to society’s expectations. Still, these do little to tie the numbers together, and most of the work remains forgettable and lacking in personality or really showing who Fill The Vamp are and what they stand for.

For Fill The Vamp then, Out-of-Bounds feels like a fledgling entry point into the theatre scene for these women still searching for their own voice. It’s a fun little number that’s full of hope and good humour, but as far as revues go, it’s also very safe and doesn’t do enough to truly tell the world what they are capable of. The team at Fill The Vamp should be proud of having produced their own show, but if they are to leave an impact, we need to know more about who these performers are as people, and go beyond merely rehashing Broadway and West End numbers other performers have executed much better, to really push at the boundaries and vamp it up.

Out-of-Bounds ran from 27th to 29th October 2022 at Gateway Theatre. More information about Fill The Vamp available here

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