By Samantha Lee
This holiday season, W!LD RICE brings to life the age-old Chinese mythical story with Monkey Goes West. The pantomime takes on a local twist of “Journey to the West” with Ah Tang (Joshua Lim) – a teenage orphan—who escaped to from his adoptive family and found himself embarking on an unexpected journey of enlightenment joined by three other characters – Sun Wu Kong (Sugie Phua), Pigsy (Frances Lee) and Sandy (Siti Khalijah Zainal).
Monkey Goes West marks the directing debut of W!LD RICE regular performer, Sebastian Tan. Besides its Asian setting and values that sets it apart from all the previous W!LD RICE pantomimes, it also truly reaches out to people from all walks of life. “I hope to share these important values with the audience,” said Tan, “along with some laughs.”
Indeed, expect nothing less than an entire room of audience bursting into laughter. The supposedly children-friendly play is peppered with sexual innuendos that – thankfully — the little ones did not catch on to.
Chua En Lai’s characters Princess Iron Fan and Auntie Fanny, together with Siti’s Guan Yin Ma and makcik neighbour, definitely stole the limelight. With that being said, Frances Lee’s performance as Pigsy was also highly commendable. For a good half of the play, I thought it was played by a male actor till I was let in on the shocking truth when I went through the list of cast. Yes, her performance was that believable!
Overall, songs by composer Elaine Chan were catchy – my personal favourite being Monkey Goes West from the opening — and the amount of detail paid to the production and design of the props and costumes was immaculate. Whether you are going with your friends or family, it’ll be a hilarious thrill ride!
Monkey Goes West will be running until 13 December 2014.