It is an honour being part of an event that’s become a Christmas tradition. I remember the first shows I was asked to write for at Dream Academy. One of the then producers tried to calm my nerves by telling me, “You think being asked to write a song in two days is a big deal? The Dim Sum Dollies can write lyrics two hours before opening night! You can do it!” Of course, I still crapped my pants.
If you’re not already familiar, Crazy Christmas is an annual variety show comprising songs, skits and dance, and Dream’s rehearsal studio is Madness HQ in the weeks before opening night. Original songs, adapted songs, scripts and dance choreographies are tried, tested, discarded, reinstated, retested and then arranged and rearranged in the show’s rundown. There is a lot of Blu Tac and recycled paper used.
Then comes opening week, and more madness at the Esplanade, as what’s known in theatre as bumping-in happens two days before the show opens. Sound, lights and the set are assembled (I swear there are gremlins messing with the tape measure – parts of the set are always the wrong size). Everyone’s always nervous, but it always comes together even when some bits are still not perfect by Preview Night, thanks in no small part to the mostly unseen technical people.
I wish for everyone to be able to see how hard the production crew of theatre shows work. There is so much grit behind the glitz.
Of course, it also helps that you have the most talented and professional assembly of performers on the show.
And this year’s opening night was special because it marked the return of the Dim Sum Dollies. I doubt Selena, Pam and Denise would have been thinking too much other than getting their lines and moves right, but maybe after this show is done, they’d reflect on how they’ve brought DSD magic back to Singapore’s theatre scene.
There’s just something there I can’t put a finger on. It’s been like that since the first Dim Sum Dollies show, and I’m so glad Selena decided (quite late in the creative process) to relaunch the franchise in this year’s Crazy Christmas.
And to Denise Tan, a big, warm welcome to you, Newbie Dolly! I can’t imagine a more appropriate stage troupe where you can showcase your talents, which are amazing, by the way.
Crazy Christmas: Ting Tong Belles runs till 22 December. Tickets available from Sistic.