SINGAPORE - She toils to raise the children, cooks up a storm, protects the family and keeps it together. She is the maid.
That is the premise of Super Mommy, a light-hearted, at times heartwarming, Mandarin musical which opened on Friday (May 18) at the Resorts World Theatre. It casts the spotlight on a pertinent societal issue here and features a few standout performances.
With more than 240,000 foreign domestic workers in Singapore, according to recent figures, many audience members will be able to identify with having a domestic helper living in one's home and the issues of trust, prejudice, cultural difference and vulnerability of family ties that come with it.
While the show does not dwell deep into these issue, it fleshes out the main character enough to portray domestic workers as not just employees, but also individuals with their own goals, emotions and families back in their home countries.
This show, produced by Resorts World Sentosa in collaboration with AMcreative, a theatrical production group from Taiwan, centres on Eny, an Indonesian helper brought into a three-generation family to help out when Grandpa's dementia worsens. From being a stranger, she gradually becomes an anchor member of the family.
Taiwanese aboriginal singer-actress Luo Mei-ling shone as Eny, navigating the various languages and accents required to play the character and stealing the show with her sweet, soft singing.
Another standout performer was local singer-songwriter Chriz Tong, who was convincing as the frazzled mother, a career woman who struggles to take care of her family. Her experience in music and musical theatre was obvious from her bright and confident singing, such as in a recurring theme questioning if hiring Eny was the right decision.
The show's eight child performers were also a delight, joyfully lighting up the stage whenever they came on with their energetic, colourful numbers.
Apart from these, however, there was sadly little else that was commendable about the show. There were largely forgettable performances, quite a lot of off-tune singing and several unnecessary, distracting segments.
There also seemed to be an over-reliance on having male actors cross-dress or behave in an effeminate manner for comic relief.
The production would be better with a smaller cast and tighter script, and should explore more deeply the impact of domestic workers on their employers' families. It might even work as a monologue, which "super mommy" Luo would certainly be able to carry off.
BOOK IT / SUPER MOMMY
WHERE: Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway)
WHEN: Until June 22, selected nights at 8pm and selected weekend matinees at 2pm
ADMISSION: $38 to $108 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)