Review / THEATRE
M1 Patch! A Theatre Festival Of Artful Play
The Theatre Practice Practice Space, Thursday (Aug 2)
What if you set the Percy Jackson And The Olympians series - in which the children of Greek gods learn to use their inherited powers in the modern world - in Singapore?
Fans of the bestselling Rick Riordan novels will be drawn to this lively local take on a world in which gods are losing their powers as people stop believing in them and worship technology instead.
Directed by The Theatre Practice artistic director Kuo Jian Hong, it revives a 2007 concept, rewritten this time by playwright Su Chun Ying.
In modern-day Singapore, the Chinese gods are on the wane. The Jade Emperor has given up his ruling responsibilities to pursue a 10th PhD. Meng Po, an underworld deity turned savvy businesswoman, runs a spa where humans can forget their woes for a price.
Heavenly warrior Ne Zha (Ng Mun Poh) has put aside his cosmic wheel and fiery spear to run a school for divine descendants, hoping that they can revive the gods' influence.
To his chagrin, only a handful of these godlings are left: teacher's pet Ray Girl (Ang Xiao Ting), who inherited from her grandparents Thunder God and Lightning Goddess the power to zap people with electricity; sleepy scatterbrain Poppy Chang (Frances Lee), Meng Po's granddaughter; and Mysterious Aw (Windson Liong).
Aw is supposedly the son of the Dragon King, but his lack of powers leaves him uncertain of his celestial DNA. He has turned to magic tricks in the hope that his mysterious moniker will at least make for a good stage name.
The painted set by Chen Szu-Feng, done in the round, packs plenty of wonder into a black box space. A second level that runs behind and above the audience allows actors to caper, clamber and cast "levitation spells".
BOOK IT / IMMORTALX
WHERE: Practice Space, 54 Waterloo Street
WHEN: Till Aug 12, various timings. Wednesdays, 3pm; Thursdays, 11.30am and 3pm; Fridays, 3 and 8pm; Saturdays, 11am and 3pm; Sundays, 11am and 2pm
ADMISSION: $32 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)
INFO: Performed in Mandarin with English surtitles. Go to www.practice.org.sg/en/m1patch
Artful spinning by stagehands sends props whirling onto stage as if summoned by magic. Slick multimedia by Edit & Play, coupled with Sandra Tay's sound design and Gordon Choy's choreography, puts some literal deus ex machina into a climactic fight sequence.
The three leads make for a relatable trio. Lee as the absent-minded Poppy is particularly endearing; her droll delivery of the script's gags had the audience of children roaring with laughter.
Sugie Phua makes a delightful cameo - of sorts - as the Monkey God, although one would have liked to see more of him.
This light, fun package makes magic out of deceptively little. No divine epiphanies here, but plenty of entertainment.