“We cross our bridges and we come to them and burn them behind us”
Reviewer: Casidhe Ng
Performance: 17 February 2017
The newest cohort of Young and W!LD presents Crossings, a double bill that explores the major decisions we make in our lives and the consequences they bring.
The Mother, The Son and the Holy Ghost, the first play of the evening, showcases some interesting multimedia elements, with Natalie Koh, Aeron Ee and Jasmine Blundell performing as the eponymous characters respectively. Yet as the piece progresses, there is a nagging sense that it lacks overall coherence. The script feels clunky at parts, and in moments of dialogue, little of the comedic moments hit their mark. Over time the characters seem to be repeating their intentions rather than developing them. Ee’s “Son” doesn’t quite manage to convince, and his eventual outbursts fail to deal the expectant emotional impact. Koh tries her best to convey the senility of “Mother”, whilst Blundell’s “social justice journalist” is equal parts chirpy and annoying. But all feel hampered by the script and ultimately remain cardboard-like.
Still, there are fleeting moments of beauty. In particular, a series of tableaus set to a heartfelt rendition of Randy Newman’s “You’ve got a Friend in me”, as well as Koh’s final monologue paired with video snapshots from the perspective of the senile mother nevertheless hit their mark.
Fortunately, the second of the double bill, Arbitrio, is significantly more engaging. The piece is punctuated with fourth wall breaks, humorous asides, Bollywood dance numbers and crude interjections by a director-playwright played by an exceptional Mel Bickham. She, being the “creator” of the entire piece, manipulates the scenes as she constructs the problematic marriage of Christopher and Danielle. Krish Natarajan and Sharmaine Goh anchor the play with effective and commendable performances as the romantic leads, Christopher and Danielle, lending a genuine believability to their romance. They are well supported by Blundell as Michelle (Christopher’s mistress) and Alison Bickham as Lenora (Danielle’s lesbian partner). All this is achieved in spite of constant reminders of the play’s artifice. Amidst the drama, the ensemble finds excellent moments of comedy: whether it is in an advertisement for a marriage-saving “pussy pleaser” in the form of Lenora, or Christopher’s psychotic enactment of how he intends to murder his boss in wonderful detail, Arbitrio simply feels like tons of fun. Balancing itself with remarkable ease between its narrative and its self-referentiality whilst engaging the audience with questions of homosexuality, the piece is undoubtedly the highlight of the evening.
With Crossings, Young and W!LD continues to showcase the importance of the work it does, wherein an emphasis on theatre-making across theatrical disciplines both technical or performance-oriented is evident. At the end of the day, as the cast bids us goodbye with an uplifting Bollywood number, it is apparent that Y&W is a platform for experimentation: that the products, whether hits or misses, are nevertheless catalysts for theatre-making, opportunities through which bonds are formed and chemistry within the ensemble invariably created.
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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
CROSSINGS by Young & Wild
15 – 19 February 2017
Centre 42 Black Box
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Casidhe Ng is currently serving the nation but takes time out of his civilian hours for theatre.