REVIEW / THEATRE
A DATE WITH DWAYNE - LET'S GO STEADY
ITE College Central BlackBox
A Date With Dwayne is part house party, part musical revue and all good fun.
Love is the theme of the evening, whether it is sending up teenage crushes or celebrating long-married lovers.
Cast members Ethel Yap, Ryan Ang and Siti Khalijah Zainal join writer-director Dwayne Lau in light-hearted sketches drawn from real life and his imagination.
Sometimes Ang is a yoga instructor at the mercy of a class of goggle-eyed aunties; sometimes Lau is a lovelorn Filipina florist mooning over a customer who buys her flowers for some other girl.
Every sketch provides an excuse to break into song, or even, dance - no hardship for this cast of triple threats.
They shine under spotlights manned by Alvyn Chai, while in a corner, music arranger and accompanist Elaine Chan responds instantly to change the mood with appropriate musical numbers.
Fresh from musicals such as Wild Rice's La Cage last year and Forbidden City: Portrait Of An Empress by Singapore Repertory Theatre and Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Lau proves he has the chops to write and direct a showcase of his own (with the help of co-director Pam Oei).
The audience in the ITE College Central Black Box mostly sits on the floor of Lau's "home", in a set that is part blueprint, part built-up rooms (designed by Melissa Ho).
Some viewers are perilously near the toilet, others crane to see Lau, dressed as Cupid, climb through the window of a bedroom.
The sense of engagement and intimacy is immediate and the audience is regularly drawn into the performance.
During one sketch, a viewer is berated into doing push-ups by Yap dressed as a sergeant. Earlier, Lau-as-Cupid literally targets some viewers with his love darts.
Amid a collection of high-octane, zany performances, the stand-out sequence was the one in memory of Lau's late mother.
After a duet with Siti celebrating a couple that grew old together, Lau and his sister Daphne June sang an original composition in tribute to their parent, who died last year during surgery.
It was a sweet touch, reminding viewers that love is not just about romance and crushes. Love is about family and friends coming together to celebrate life.
That, and the sincere chemistry among the cast, made this performance the best kind of Saturday night date.