Monday, February 24, 2020

What’s in a name? I want to be Earnest !!! My Review of The Importance of Being Earnest 2020 by Wild Rice


I remember in 2009, the excited anticipation before the show started while the Tang Quartet entertained the audience at the Drama Center Theatre. I can also fondly recall the added spring in my step and the secret chuckle after the show. It had thoroughly entertained me. The show was The Importance of Being Earnest. Best time in the theatre.. got free food too. Cucumber sandwiches.

Fast forward 11 years later, I watched it again for the third time .. yet again, the same rollercoaster of emotions from the minute I step into the theatre to the moment I leave. The only difference is, instead of Tang Quartet, the musical interludes are now performed by the very accomplished Concordia Quartet, and instead of the Drama Center Theatre, it is now at Wild Rice’s own theatre. Yup !!! Cucumber sandwiches provided too !!! I was served by Hossan Leong !!!!! (Hossan, if you are wondering, I asked you whether Kay Siu also injured his leg and you told me it is an unfortunate result of aging !!!)

In a nutshell, the show was just brilliant !!! It had the audience laughing from start to end. The banter between the characters was sharp, witty and full of intentional puns. A special shoutout to Chua Enlai and Gavin Yap who played Gwendolen and Cecily respectively. They played their roles wonderfully. The part where they were ‘bitchy’ all the way to ‘reconciliatory’ was just so good with every nuances in their expressions perfect. Definitely one of the highlights of this show. Ivan Heng of course played the role of Lady Bracknell as he has always done. I think he is such a natural and he can just do this in his sleep. The two main ‘male’ characters of Algernon and John (Earnest) were played by Brendon Fernandez and Daniel York Loh. They played the same roles in Earnest 2009 and I must say they have matured into the roles since then. You can see more feelings and a more rounded performance in Earnest 2020. However, the ‘ladies’ still stood out. Even Hossan who I personally think is getting better and better (like fine wine la, if you get my drift).

To something a bit more serious. As I write this, there is a very dark cloud over Singapore with the Covid-19 virus. Businesses are suffering. Even the local Arts scene and its community are not spared. In today’s Straits Times, “Arts scene hit hard by virus fears.” highlight how practitioners are struggling to stay afloat. Events / classes are being postponed or cancelled all because of fear of the virus spreading. It was the same last Saturday (22/2/2020) at the matinee show. Usually a Wild Rice show will be filled to the rafters but instead the turnout was less than half the theatre. When I went in and looked around, it hit me hard. I felt very sad. Imagine the cast who can so obviously see the red of the empty seats all around the theatre. It must be very demoralising and yet they hide it well. When Ivan Heng appeared to welcome and greet the audience, he had his signature warm cheeky smile. All the other cast members were also found of enthusiasm, looking so dashing in their white shirts and blue jeans. I am not going to repeat myself on how we can help.  You can read it here where I posted a few days ago about this issue.

However, I want to stand up and applaud all the cast and team of Wild Rice for having the guts to go on with the show knowing the risk that you all personally take as well as the financial risk. I applaud the cast for putting up such a great show that really blew away my worries. If laughter is the best medicine, I would want none-other than you guys to be my doctor !!!

So guys, tickets are still available at SISTIC !!! The show will be running until Sunday, 8th March 2020. Go GET THEM NOW !!! Don't let this virus defeat us !! Satisfaction guaranteed, earnest-ly !!


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