SINGAPORE - It was a gold rush at the 15th M1-The Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards on Monday as the Singapore theatre community turned up in a dazzling array of glittery hues, lighting up the hallways of the Esplanade.
The Solid Gold-themed awards ceremony was at once riotous and reflective, with comedienne Pam Oei masterfully directing the flow of festivities from the moment she stepped on stage in what looked like a gold chain-mail peplum tube top and shiny gold tights by costume designer Frederick Lee, topped off with an intricate gold headpiece created by hair maestro Ashley Lim - which she affectionately referred to as her "helmet".
Telco M1 has come on board as title sponsor for the annual awards, which was also held in collaboration with the Esplanade for the first time. It is part of the ongoing The Studios: fifty season of 50 Singapore plays, which runs till May 10.
Some of the earlier guests to arrive were not bedecked in gold, much to the dismay of director-producer Beatrice Chia-Richmond, who looked down at her shiny toga dress and remarked: "I feel like a gold coin!"
But the sequinned and shimmery crowd soon showed up in full force, from playwright Tan Tarn How's subtle gold tie and actor-host Chua Enlai's sparkly bowtie to DJ and Dim Sum Dolly Denise Tan's scalloped gold dress and quirky heels with a bit of fluff from British label Irregular Choice.
Past Life! Theatre Awards and Golden Horse winner Yeo Yann Yann turned up in a charming black and gold number from the boutique Moiselle and Life! Theatre Awards nominee Elizabeth Lazan wore a fully beaded dress with a vintage feel from Alice + Olivia.
The guest of honour and chairman of the National Arts Council, Professor Chan Heng Chee, exuded elegance in a floral green and gold cheongsam.
As part of the awards' 15th birthday, former winners were invited to give out the crystal trophies to this year's batch of awardees.
They included 2009 Best Actor Najib Soiman and 2011 Best Director Alvin Tan.
Oei spent a bit of time before each of the award presentations bantering with her captive charges on stage.
Janice Koh, who won Best Actress in 2003, was coaxed into doing a complicated yoga pose ("I challenge her to do this without exposing her underwear to you," Oei commanded) and multiple acting award-winner Adrian Pang was strong- armed into singing in character as Lee Kuan Yew.
He will play the titular role in The LKY Musical. Oei even interviewed herself when it was time for her to give out the Best Actor award.