Friday, 2 October 2009

The Oral Stage's Oh Dad, Poor Dad

I watched Arthur Kopit's play "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad" (yes, that is the full title) performed at KLPAC's Pentas Dua last night, and I'm glad to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

All three leads were well cast for their roles and were a joy to watch.

Madam Rosepettle, played by Nicole-Ann Thomas, is a domineering mother whose saccharine name doesn't quite suggest her iron-fisted character. Ms. Thomas displayed great confidence, astute comic timing as well as the enviable ability to go through a five page monologue without breaking a sweat, bless her.

Alfred Loh plays her smothered and ineffectual son with comfort and energy. Mr. Loh actually has a second role in the play, and it's amazing how he pulled off both with such ease—it really must be seen to be believed! Hanneke Talbot as the babysitter Rosalie brought out the naughty, playful side of the character and, later on, her less-than-innocent aspects as well.

The entire play takes place in a Caribbean hotel suite Madam Rosepettle has moved into with her son, her pet piranha and her two Venus fly-traps. Everyone else in the play pretty much comes into the room to interact with them. What is clever is that this physical claustrophobia slowly seeps into (or rather shows through) the psychology of the characters as the play unfolds.

Nothing is quite as it seems; the set and costumes are bright and cheery, the characters are really over-the-top, and a lot of the dialogue seems silly and comedic, yet as the play progresses horrible undertones of domineeringness, disloyalty, dysfunction and death creep in to undermine the facade.

However, this production by the Oral Stage (director Kelvin Wong) thankfully brought out the raunchy and brash comedy in the script and played with its absurdist/farcical side to balance its darkness and pessimism. The audience was laughing loudly till the end, and I certainly left the theatre with equal measures of unease and glee.

"Oh Dad, Poor Dad" is playing till the 4th, so please, please catch it if you can!


Post a Comment