SINGAPORE - Theatre Review
Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap on Zoom
Last Saturday (June 20)
The video footage freezes as someone speaks over video conferencing platform Zoom, his face stuck in an unflattering position.
In a separate video call, a man excuses himself from a meeting to speak with "a client" over the phone, only to criticise his boss while calling a friend and forgetting to mute his audio on the work call.
These scenes are a part of the latest edition of theatre company How Drama's comedy show Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap, which takes place over Zoom.
The hilarious collection of 15 short plays unfolds over half an hour. The audience, which comprised some 60 viewers last Saturday, decides the sequence of the plays by calling out numbers that correspond to titles such as Technical Difficulties, Work Call and Covid Cooking.
Directed by former Straits Times Life deputy editor Melissa Sim, the show saw actors Ross Nasir, Pavan J. Singh, Nicholas Bloodworth, Victoria Chen and Vester Ng portraying scenarios from the circuit breaker and other recent developments.
They play roles ranging from a social media influencer grieved by how she has nothing new from Lululemon for her followers to see, to a baby boomer who gets upset when advised to wear his mask properly.
The show's plays are funny and relatable, being either jibes at topics in the news or everyday challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
I was particularly tickled when Singh, playing a reporter at a press conference, asked a fictional minister: "Instead of calling it a circuit breaker, can we call it a lockdown?"
In another memorable scene, Ross as a school teacher makes a handicraft of a sheep using cotton wool and other materials, in a reference to Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing's gaffe in a video interview last month (May).
Cast members switch seamlessly between their characters, and performing over Zoom did not seem much of a challenge. Turning their bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens into mini sets, they represented through their acts the many ways in which people have made the best out of their stay-at-home situations.
The production was easy to watch, with its short duration catering to the limited attention spans of people staring into screens. At some points, it was tough to tell whether the session was a theatre production or an upbeat virtual party, owing in part to lighthearted scenes such as Chen miming the lyrics to a hot Electro pop song as she dances on her bed.
One minor gripe I had was that some scenes seemed like fillers, such as when Ng nimbly executed a Tik Tok handwashing routine that earned applause. However, the item seemed more appropriate for a social media gimmick and it was hard to imagine such an act playing out as a short play in a theatre setting.
On the whole, the latest edition of Fat Kids Are Harder To Kidnap is in keeping with the 12-year-old production's boisterous take on current affairs, but with a digital twist that aptly depicts and helps viewers to make sense of these unusual times.
BOOK IT/FAT KIDS ARE HARDER TO KIDNAP ON ZOOM
When: Weekends from June 20 to July 5, 9pm
Admission: $10 to $50 (pay as you wish) from howdrama.com