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Theatre review: Decimal Points 810 celebrates life and meditates on mortality

Published on Apr 26, 2014 10:41 AM
A production photo from Decimal Points 810, conceived and directed by Neo Kim Seng. The cast members from left to right: Chin Rui Yuan, Anita Set, Jean Toh, Rachel Poh, Yazid Jalil, John Cheah (standing on 2nd floor), Al-Matin Yatim, Chang Ting Wei, Paula Sim. -- PHOTO: TUCKYS PHOTOGRAPHY

This new addition to Cake's Decimal Points series - and the first without a decimal point - opens rather somberly to the melancholy strains of Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley, after Leonard Cohen).

In a sense, this gravity is to be expected; after all, this writing and directing debut by independent producer Neo Kim Seng was inspired by a moment of life and death, as he personally went under the knife for heart surgery to fix a mitral valve prolapse (in a nutshell, a faulty valve in the heart) last year.

It is a moment of keen introspection, and the nine performers scattered across the Substation Theatre stage slowly pick themselves up from the floor and leave the room, almost as if they were ending the show just as it was beginning. And then almost immediately, we are plunged into an over-the-top, gleefully cheerful prelude to a patient's impending heart surgery. He is surrounded by a cabaret chorus of flirtatious and unnervingly reckless medical staff prepping him for an injection of propofol, better known as "the Michael Jackson drug" which killed the late singer.

These unexpected juxtapositions and small revelations are what make Decimal Points 810 a joy to watch, even if the sum of its parts do not always cohere into a uniform whole - which, I suspect, was never the intention anyway.

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