Although Singapore has tried to cultivate a local arts and entertainment scene, it’s never been (to my mind at least) a particularly big one. We’re not exactly noted for our great thespians. Plus, despite being the country that apparently takes fun seriously, we’re not exactly famous for our hilarious comedians either. In the eyes of the world, Singaporeans are generally unfunny people.
That being said, I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Dream Academy‘s Dim Sum Dollies, so on my last visit to Singapore, I purchased a pair of tickets to the opening night of the their rendition of The History of Singapore – Part 1 on the basis that it promised to be a very funny show and also because I saw pamphlets for it everywhere. Plus, I wanted to have some bonding time with the Aged P.
The show wasn’t just funny. It was FABULOUS. I mean, just look at it!
Not only was the staging good, but the music was also fantastic. The Dim Sum Dollies have good voices and aren’t afraid to show them off. The choreography was fairly impressive as well, masterfully executed by a line of chorus dancers collectively known as the Lo Mai Guys. The show was pretty successfully stolen by Hossan Leong, who played a variety of roles and filled in the gaps between scenes with a few hilarious comedic vignettes.
I really had a great time. The girls had both the Aged P and I laughing hard at their punny jokes and tongue-in-cheek humour. A lot of the jokes required knowledge of dialects that I do not speak, but the delivery was funny enough for me to get the point. I particularly enjoyed the Spice Girls parody song about the five spices traded through the port of Singapore.
That being said, the musical does suffer a little from a lack of cohesion and there were one or two painfully unfunny segments, I felt, could have used a bit more of an editor’s eye. Still, those segments had most of the theatre in stitches, so perhaps it’s just a matter of taste.
If you’re looking for an evening’s diversion, I don’t think you could go wrong with The History of Singapore Part 1, and I do hope that the Dim Sum Dollies have greater and more hilarious surprises for us in the future.
The History of Singapore Part 1 will continue its run at the Esplanade Theatre until the 21st of June. Tickets can be booked with SISTIC and start from $68.
 No, we are never going to live that phrase down, so let’s just embrace it for what it is.