When I received an invitation from Ivy to watch Broadway Beng! 3 with her family, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Stand-up comedy plus musical with heavy dose of Hokkien and Singlish? I think Zibin will really enjoy this!” I was right on. Zibin loved it so much he actually wanted to give a standing ovation!
While I couldn’t have enjoyed it as much as my hubby did because I was lost in translation for more than 50% of the show (unfortunately most of the Hokkien I understood was vulgarities), the show was spirited, infectious and very enjoyable. Sebestian Tan’s comic timing was impeccable and his excellent singing voice surprisingly apt for both Broadway showtunes and Hokkien songs.
My favourite part of the show was when Broadway Beng (BB) talked about the importance of father-son relationships and how sons aspire to be like their fathers (*ahem* u noe, like our current PM) and segued into THE musical that illustrates that: Disney’s The Lion King. But, like BB says, who understands all those African chants in Circle of Life? So BB and his CBs (chio bus) performed an inspired Hokkien-chant version of Circle of Life complete with costumes and props that replicate the Broadway show. (so sad my Hokkien is too lousy to tell you what they sang, but it loosely repeats something that means “you are my father” and “i am your son”). I also really enjoyed it when BB gave us a literal English translation of the popular Hokkien song “Must fight then can win” :P
I think Zibin’s favourite portion of the show was BB’s 10-minute version of The Sound of Music (where Maria becomes the original Filipino maid enduring maid abuse by Mothers Superior, Inferior and ‘Big-rear’ during the tune How do you solve a problem like Maria).
As seems to be my fate when it comes to watching live shows, I was sandwiched between two people (Ivy and Zibin) who roared with the most hearty laughter throughout the show. This despite Ivy’s claim of not understanding Hokkien well *wry*. It was a great outing because everybody enjoyed themselves immensely (Ivy’s dad was positively beaming when BB sang his favourite Hokkien song). Broadway Beng had both crass and class and I echo Ivy’s sentiment that his charm did not need translation.
Count me in if there’s going to be a 4th installation of Broadway Beng next year. And I’ll have to bring John and Cathy along too!
Read Straits Time’s Review of Broadway Beng!3
“Now you know how I felt when you brought me to the opera.”
– Zibin’s response after I told him how lost in translation I was