A review of ‘Catching Adam Cheng’

Catching Adam Cheng
ACTION Theatre
Ng Yi-Sheng

Without doubt, this is the best ACTION Theatre production I’ve seen in the last five years. Playwright Jacke Chye has done a swell job refining his TheatreIdols-winning script about four old ladies escaping a nursing home for a concert. While it’s still imperfect, the story scores big points with its light comedy, well-paced plot and eccentric, endearing characters, including the refined lady Veronica (Fanny Kee), the grumpy, wheelchair-bound invalid Peng Peng (Beatrice Chien), the sadistic staff nurse Dua Missy (Esther Yap) and the hapless goon of an orderly (Irwin See). And though they’re newcomers to the professional stage, Carena Chor and Belinda Sunshine also do well in their roles as nursing home residents – Chor portrays the protagonist Swee Lin with a special understated strength and naturalism that wins us over. In fact, I’d say that director Jeffrey Tan’s real triumph with this play was the casting: the chemistry between his actors is solid and infectious.

My complaints? Well, the play sags a little in the middle of the second half, Veronica’s catchphrase of “Oh lordy” is annoyingly repetitive, the language feels a little too hip for the elderly, Lee Weng Kee’s a little wooden, a few issues with volume… But you see, these are mere details. Compared to the glaring problems in many of the company’s previous plays, this is gold.


~ by irwin on November 25, 2008.

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