Have you ever heard of a musical within a musical? A meta-musical? Thatâ€™s exactly what KCLâ€™s Singaporean society performed last week.
Their aptly named production â€˜Committeeâ€™ follows the story of Singaporean societyâ€™s initially shambolic and humorous attempt at putting on a musical. The play begins with a mysterious divine proclamation requesting the president of the Singaporean society to create a musical to raise the societyâ€™s morale. The demanding director immediately arranges auditions for the performance. It is here that we are introduced to the different characters of the society. This includes the screenwriter, a girl who successfully embodies the comedic stereotype of a suffering, sensual, artist who abstractly rambles about the beauty of life and art. With her head down reading a book, one can identify her with the typical dazed out English student. The cast members showcase an array of talents in the audition, all of which are performed in ridiculous and humorous styles. It is only when Robin, a fresher, performs that the director and screenwriter are satisfied. Sweet, shy and the daughter of a dead mother and alcoholic father, Robin decides to join the society to make friends. However, her talent proves detrimental to her plan as it evokes the jealousy of Zara, the resident diva of the society. Zaraâ€™s frustration puts a strain on her relationship with the dashing Chris, who desires to be her â€˜psychotherapistâ€™ in his attempt to calm her down.
The tension between Zara and Robin, the directorâ€™s despotic control, the script writerâ€™s unrealistic ideas and the uninspired cast sees the committee fall. The director, knowing she has failed, turns to the student bar as a means to drown her sorrows (where she found me).
However, after this fiasco, the characters start to support each other through teamwork and the performance finishes with a sweet and uplifting ending which sees Zara and Robin befriend each other, and the Singaporean committee successfully produce a musical. Although Zara and Robin initially appeared to be polar opposites, they had more in common than previously thought; both are lonely and struggle to fit in society.
The show successfully conveys the comedic effect it wishes to produce through the exaggerated use of stereotypes. What was particularly hilarious was Chrisâ€™ obsessive attempt to become Zaraâ€™s â€˜psychotherapistâ€™, much to the amusement of the audience. The ingenious irony of the musical should also be noted; although the director forbade the mention of â€˜sex, drugs and rock nâ€™rollâ€™, these were elements present in the actual performance.
Music is played by a live-time orchestra, which excellently reflected the moods of the scene, from the sassy jazz music played for Zaraâ€™s introduction to the melodic soft Asian tones of Ameliaâ€™s song to the hot, sweaty and sexy â€˜Singaporonicaâ€™. The show also saw the cast perform with strong vocals and good dance dynamics.
â€˜Committeeâ€™ is undoubtedly a musical that everyone can relate to, especially fellow Singaporeans, which makes it so enjoyable to watch. Away from their family, faced with academic stress and burdened with the pressure of producing an annual musical, â€˜Committeeâ€™ reflects such mind sets and is a performance deeply personal to the Singaporean society.