“Not the best story”
Reviewer: Isaac Lim
Performance: 5 November 2016
There is a sense of familiarity when one steps into the Necessary Stage basement black box for this performance. The set is similar to previous iterations of Best Of, but somehow different. The backdrop seems almost the same, so is the chair that was the only set/prop in the ‘original production’. But now, the tables have turned, and it’s time to hear from the once silent, estranged husband.
Best Of was written ‘especially for award-winning actress Siti Khalijah Zainal’, as reflected in the publicity materials. After two successful runs in 2013 and 2014 in Singapore, the spotlight is now turned to the man who we heard about but have never quite seen.
Did I imagine the husband to look like Sani Hussin, the actor playing the role in this show? Not quite.
And as the show went on, can you imagine the wife of this man on stage to be like Siti K? Not quite as well.
There is a feeling of disjunction between the two characters. But taken separately, perhaps, it doesn’t quite affect one’s enjoyment, or connection with this new work.
Hussin is a very charming storyteller. Throughout the 70-minute show, he regularly interacts with the audience as he shares his side of the story. One can’t help but be engaged into a silent conversation with his character.
The story is simple. The man at the centre of this story is a Malay-Muslim man – not the conservative sort, but one who still takes his religious teachings seriously. We see him trying to etch out memories of his wife from the story, through movable blinds on stage. We see him taking ownership, and justly so.
So, there is nothing wrong in the relationship between the couple. Just a lack of communication. We hear that they slowly lose trust in one another, before having to make the decision to go through the divorce proceedings.
Perhaps, the biggest problem with this man is his loyalty to his closest buddies— an issue that’s raised several times throughout the work. He takes his friends more seriously than his wife. In retrospect, the blame of the failed marriage subtly shifts onto the wife.
Best Of (His Story) is a poignant piece of work. The Alvin Tan-Haresh Sharma collaboration guarantees it to be a watchable and relatable drama.
However, there seem to be more issues at hand that could be discussed, but were left untouched — sexual intimacy, religion practices and more.
As an accompanying piece to the previous work, I would say it adds little. Not a failed sequel, no. But, the original work wasn’t necessarily the best work to have a sequel to.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
BEST OF (HIS STORY) by The Necessary Stage
2 -13 November 2016
The Necessary Stage
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Isaac Lim is a third-year Theatre Studies major at the National University of Singapore who enjoys bustling in all-things-arty, gets crafty, and indulges in being a foodie