Monkey Goes West (2014).

monkey_goes_westI have been so busy with plenty of commitments going on all at the same time, but I was so lucky to be able to make some time to catch this production by W!ld Rice a while back.

(On a side note, Victoria Concert Hall looks so beautiful and I am so glad that the space is up and running again while retaining most of the defining features of the architecture. Reminds me of my secondary school days of attending classical concerts as well as performances in that space.)

Everyone knows the tale of Journey To The West, so I thought it was about time to get a localised version of this classic tale (since the whole past year has been about giving a Singaporean twist to plays and musicals) and here it is!

Falling asleep at Haw Par Villa after a petty quarrel with his step-family, Ah Tang wakes up in his dreamland where he “becomes” Tang Seng and meets Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy while on his quest to get back to Jurong West. As obstacles are overcome and the end is nearing, Ah Tang learns lessons that will stay with him throughout his life.

Even though I do make a point to catch most of W!ld Rice’s shows throughout the season, this is the first ever pantomime for me so the experience was refreshing and new. Breaking the fourth wall right at the start and constantly engaging the audience as well as cracking relevant jokes every now and then were truly pleasant surprises (because most of the plays I catch tend to be emotionally or content heavy) and I found myself participating and laughing along after a couple of minutes.

Hmm. I particularly enjoyed the songs with the whimsical lyrics. They were catchy and fun while keeping the high-energy action on stage. And something that made things more engaging was how kids started singing along halfway through the show. It was pretty adorable and tempted me to participate as well.

But the “Yo Mama” jokes and the punny dialogues totally took the cake that night. I absolutely loved how witty and clever they were, especially with weaving certain innuendos and nuances into the text. I guess the older kids will understand what I am getting at. Hahaha.

And for those two hours, I escaped reality and relaxed in my seat to enjoy the show. And that was much needed.

Thank you so much to everyone that made the show so wonderful. I am definitely going to try and catch the pantomimes from now on, and join in the kids at the chanting, laughing and audience interactions.

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