Fat Kids is back and still watchable

REVIEW / THEATRE

F4T KIDS ARE HARDER TO KIDNAP

How Drama

Arts House Play Den

Last Friday

Back in 2008, How Drama presented Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap, a madcap sketch show of 31 plays, all presented within the span of an hour.

As if that format was not nutty enough, audience members had the power to decide the sequence, by screaming numbers from a menu between scenes.

This year brings the fourth edition of the revue and, as always, it is loads of fun.

Co-playwrights Melissa Sim and Jeremy Au Yong have cooked up an array of playlets, consisting of slapstick, bad puns, current affairs commentary and some very surreal humour.

These are brought to life by the truly dynamic ensemble of Ross Nasir, Nicholas Bloodworth, Pavan J. Singh, Carina McWhinnie and Benedict Hew.

Among the sketches, musical numbers rank highly.

In Hotline Auntie, for instance, a middle-aged woman teaches a class how to do Drake's dance in Hotline Bling, giving the moves incongruous names such as "joget" and "play tennis". Similarly delightful is a rendition of Adele's Hello, reproaching Indonesia for at first refusing Singapore's help in controlling the haze.

Many of the more off-kilter numbers also deserve praise. Dead People Don't Move has the actors coming on as Game Of Thrones characters, summarily slaughtering one another, then lying still on the floor.

Disappointment consists simply of an empty spotlight.

There is even a family drama: Jason depicts a mother and father coming to terms with the fact that their four-year-old son identifies as female. The issue is not played as comedy and ultimately succeeds as a moving plea for acceptance.

On the other hand, the topical pieces feel strangely dated. Jokes about the General Election and the viral maths problem of Cheryl's birthday would have been fine in a December pantomime, but are now barely relevant. Verbal humour also occasionally falls flat, as in the case of a hasty pun about the newly named Eunoia Junior College.

There also appears to have been a marked increase in the use of props for this edition. Certainly, the right prop can make a scene uproarious, as in the instance of the giant mobile phone used to demonstrate swiping left on Tinder. Yet the awkward set-up required for such acts slows the momentum of the evening somewhat.

Ultimately, this reviewer finds the latest incarnation of Fat Kids less riotous than it could have been, given the richness and hilarity of How Drama's past shows. Nevertheless, it remains eminently watchable, with all its silliness and spirit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2016, with the headline 'Fat Kids is back and still watchable'. Print Edition | Subscribe