CHESTNUTS 6.9: THE LESS MISERABLE WHITE PAPER
Venue: Drama Centre Theatre
Date: Last Friday
Stages' annual comedy and musical mash-up is a highlight of the local theatre scene and Chestnuts 6.9: The Less Miserable White Paper will give anyone a taste for the fare.
The selling point of the Chestnuts series is social commentary through slapstick - the grumbling from the ground turned into song, as the programme booklet says.
Actor-director Jonathan Lim and his energetic team this year take accurate and deadly potshots at every major headline, from the recently presented White Paper and its unpopular 6.9 million population projection, to the several sex scandals that have rocked the halls of government and civil service.
As always, this is through mash-ups of the music and musicals most on our minds, in this case the 2012 movie version of Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, which made it to Singapore screens in May.
Chestnuts stalwarts Judee Tan, Judy Ngo, Dwayne Lau and Lim are joined this year by New Zealander Tim Garner in a send-up of Jackman's roles in Les Miserables and the X-Men movies franchise.
He was the "foreign talent" in a brilliant stroke of casting that made the audience laugh as well as examine their own responses to immigrants and the issue of immigration.
Chestnuts this year moved on from the 388-seater Jubilee Hall to the larger Drama Centre Theatre at the National Library building, which can seat 615.
To book the venue, Stages, a not- for-profit theatre group, sent out a crowd-funding appeal and raised around $40,000 to present one of the slickest productions I have seen from it thus far.