It has become somewhat of a tradition in the Singapore theatre scene, for two of our theatre companies to cap the year with a fun, lighthearted production. Dream Academy’s festive jaunt Crazy Christmas is in its 11th edition, while Wild Rice’s Singaporean takes on the beloved genre of pantomime has spanned the last two decades.
This year, Wild Rice reprises Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which first debuted in 2008, delighting audiences with its original take on a classic Brothers Grimm tale that has been told and retold since it was first written in the early 19th century.
A dream team
It takes either a certain madness, or genius, to think of throwing a “serious” playwright like Alfian Sa’at in with the comedic chops of Hossan Leong - who, until that 2008 premiere, hadn’t directed a theatre show in Singapore before. And to make things even more interesting, the cast includes a bunch of school-age children. The future looks promising if these kids’ performances are anything to go by.
Directed by Hossan Leong, this pantomime promises a light-hearted humour punctuated with pop culture references.
We’re still not sure whether it was in spite of this combination, or a result of it, that the staging 15 years ago was a hit, with Sa’at managing to mangle the classic fairy tale with very Singaporean twists, pop culture references, and of course, social commentary.
Refreshing a classic
Chua Enlai as the Queen definitely delivers a loud pop of colour into this light-hearted play.
Fast forward to 2023, and this year’s restaging reunites the unlikely playwright-director pair, who set to work in the latter half of this year, refreshing local and pop-culture references, and deciding on which of the wealth of Singaporean social issues to tackle and parody. It is still a pantomime of course, which, by tradition, means a generous amount of hamming up and a readiness to interact with an audience of all ages. The out and loud cast that includes the likes of Chua Enlai - who plays the Queen, with his makeup and costume not-so-loosely based on a certain Malaysian personality, Vester Ng, Siti K, Nadya Zaheer, and the company of other actors who play the assortment of other characters.
Dwarfs play a big part
In Sa’at’s retelling, the Singaporean versions of the Seven Dwarfs – Weepy, Shorty, Dorky, Jesse/Jessie, Lispy, Hidey, and Bui Bui stand tall and proud in their representation of diversity, inclusivity and acceptance in the show’s Eternal Kingdom. This classic motley crew is deftly played by a talented group of young actors - Tan Rui Shan, Suhaili Safari, Medli Loo, Benjamin Koh, Alecia Chua, Marcus Chiau, and Andrew Lua.
Laugh, think, and laugh again
A classic fairytale but with a quirky Singaporean twist!
In all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs promises to be a fun romp into the chaotic magic of the Eternal Kingdom, with plenty of thought-provoking takeaways in the midst of the song and dance.
Catch Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs as it approaches its home stretch from now till 23 December 2023 at Wild Rice @ Funan. Tickets are priced from $25 and all Catch Members can enjoy an exclusive 10% discount off tickets; simply book them through Catch and have your discount code automatically added before you check out!
All images belong to Wild Rice.