Checkpoint Theatre's work transcends genre

I beg to differ with your reviewer on Thick Beats For Good Girls by Checkpoint Theatre, currently at the Drama Centre Black Box (The Soundtrack Of Their Youth, Life, April 9).

Ms Olivia Ho's take is that "the show itself does not often rise beyond the level of homage". It appears she has missed the mark entirely. I am disappointed.

The play is unflinching in addressing the audience with what is on the other side of the equation.

Its achievements are many. Not least is its segue from the personal to the political, from hip-hop primer to incisive critique; stereotype to sexism; run-of-the-mill abuses are keenly felt and fiercely told.

Hip-hop - the misogyny, the swagger, the hypnotic pulse - is mobilised to this end. It becomes the reflective lens with which to view ourselves and others in this, our shared yet unshared space.

The courage to call out such misogyny as exists in, for example, religion and families, is to be admired. If its defiance is in-your-face, it is also upbeat and indefatigable.

"The world is a cesspit of sexism. Let's find the prayers that uplift us. And when we cannot, let's rewrite them."

The monologue device, used to great affect throughout and, most potently, in the closing, gives fierce expression and insight to the encroachments, the claustrophobia in the lived experience of people of a minority race.

And suddenly, I get the swag. I get the anger. I get the music. And the rift between us closes just a tiny bit.

The production transcends expectations and genre. All without missing a beat.

Dana Lam


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2018, with the headline 'Checkpoint Theatre's work transcends genre'. Print Edition | Subscribe