One of two enduring Singaporean theatre traditions is the year end Christmas production by Dream Academy. The other being Wild Rice’s pantomime.
This year’s edition, titled Crazy Christmas™ Balls of the Belles, does not disappoint. That is, if you are in for some riotous, chaotic fun as director and cast member Selena Tan leads her bevy of ‘belles’ in taking a swipe at everything from the hit Netflix series Bridgerton to viral TikTok trends.
A wild medley of Christmas cheer, uproarious humour, and musical talent!
George Chan, Dwayne Lau, Andrew Marko, and Sebastian Tan all appear to be having almost too much fun literally letting their hair (wigs) down in some ridiculous musical theatre numbers that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an impromptu Christmas house party performance. They certainly make you feel like you’ve been invited to the best year-end party in town. These four actors definitely showcase their musical theatre acting chops - especially when you are able to contrast Lau’s performance with his own, darker, role as the Emcee in SingTheatre’s Cabaret.
Once again, Sebastian Tan slayed in this production with his incredible vocals.
Sebastian Tan’s soaring vocals are a reprise of his renditions in July’s Broadway Beng GROWING gOLD. Tan’s segment in Balls of the Belles was deftly placed right after intermission. Here, amid the madness, is some heart, thanks in part to the clever arrangement by music director Joel Nah, delivering some surprising turns in the medley mish mash.
Nah’s hand is also evident in the other medley numbers throughout the show, which can best be described as a conglomerate of skits, songs, and stand-up, which are delivered by Kumar in a slightly laconic performance – as the ‘fourth wise man’ who was late, lost, and therefore unrecorded in history – and Selena Tan’s rapid-fire round-up of the year’s notable scandals.
Bringing a musically uplifting vibe to the Crazy Christmas™ production is acapella group Vocaluptous.
The same formula for Crazy Christmas™ has been applied for this, the 11th edition of this show - with its unapologetically unsophisticated (and therefore unpretentious) comic segments with loose segues. But it also means the ‘Crazy’ bits are punctuated with more mindful and solemn pauses by the acapella group Vocaluptous, led by the inimitable John Lee.
If you’re new when it comes to watching musical theatre this would be just the ticket. Crazy Christmas™ Balls of the Belles was filled with laughter, music, and a touch of Christmas magic. You would most definitely have felt ‘Christmassy’ at the final rousing number and singalong.
The 2023 season may be done and dusted, but we’re told planning has already been underway for 2024’s slate of shows.
All images belong to Dream Academy.