After weeks of pre-show hype the Dim Sum Dollies generated, it was with anticipation that we went to catch the Dollies make their come back in this year’s Crazy Christmas Ting Tong Belles (“Crazy Christmas“) at the Esplanade Theatres.
The local production lives up to its stage name and is as crazy as it gets. From over-the-top sparkly costumes and the elaborate sets with flashy lights, the show started with a bang and did not stop surprising or entertaining the audience till it ended. Crazy Christmas features one and a half hours (without intermission) of short skits, songs and dances. Flanked with the Ting Tong Belles, Singapore’s favourite acapella group Vocaluptuous, Broadway Beng, and Kumar, the Dollies shone and glowed through the night (literally).
Expect tongue-in-cheek jibes in relation to current affairs, government policies (the ever prevalent baby-making encouragements), references to pop culture (featuring Lady BaBa in the picture at top) and all-time favourite movies from the likes of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. With the show’s writer Benjamin ‘Mr Miyagi’ Lee, one can appreciate how the show is peppered heavily in local flavour with a comedic spin but still retaining its Christmassy theme.
The Dollies gelled perfectly as a unit but always allowed each of its ‘pau’ (Selena Tan is Kong Bah Pau, Pam Oei is Char Siew Pau and the newest Dolly Denise Tan was bestowed the title of Lian Yong Pau or Lotus Paste Bun) to shine. Denise Tan portrays perfectly as the latest addition to the Dollies’ larger-than-life personas. Sebastian ‘Broadway Beng’ Tan received many a round of applause with his Hokkien references that locally born and bred Singaporeans were able to pick up and appreciate, but it was also thoughtful of them to project subtitles in English for the benefit of those who did not understand. Kumar as one of Santa’s elves was true to his stand up comedic form delivering his witty, no-holds-barred rapid-fire brand of humour. Special mention goes to the multi-talented Judee Tan who provided all the “intermission humour” between the short skits from the shy and awkward Teochew Muay to vampy Cat Claus and even Chun Li.
As a whole, one may think that Crazy Christmas‘s brand of humour may veer towards being cheesy. But face it, isn’t the entire concept of Christmas cheesy? And isn’t it the only time of the year that Jingle Bells / Twelve Days of Christmas / Silent Night become ear worms that you can’t help but hum to? The show is exactly just that. It reminds us, as Selena Tan of the Dollies likes to say, to “Live, Laugh and Love.” While it may not be the likes of Wicked or Phantom of the Opera, it definitely punches above its weight as a feel-good production that Singaporeans should be proud of; to call our Singlish brand of humour our own. Assuredly, we noted that everyone left with smiles on their faces.
The show is one to bring friends and families to watch and to sit back, soak up the Christmas tidings and allow the Dollies to, as they say, “ding your dongs”.
(P.S. The Crazy Christmas programme booklet is free-of-charge, but donations from concert-goers would go to the Emma Yong Fund – created to give aid to theatre practitioners in Singapore suffering from cancer and / or other critical illnesses.)
Crazy Christmas Ting Tong Belles runs from now till 22 December 2013 and is R18 for 6pm and 8pm shows. Popspoken recommends the R18 versions ;) Tickets can be bought at Sistic here.