Theatre Review: 251 – Disappointing, superficial and all hype with boobs

Proof of attendance
Proof of attendance

There was much media coverage on 251, especially since it was about Annabel Chong. The debate on what she represents to and for Singapore rages on even until today. But for the media and the public, everybody is lapping up all the hype generated by this piece of porn theatre. I mean people probably thought: Annabel Chong + theatre = live porn! I know that’s what I tell people when they ask about it. Once again I have to hand it to Toy Factory for the amazing marketing efforts which is really an artform in titself itself. There was were articles in the last 2 issues of FHM Singapore, front page coverage on ST Life!, contest on MIW (which I won the free tickets from) and even an nsfw mention.

But publicity isn’t what I want to talk about. Since all performances have sold out, it is now a “civic duty” to provide a quick synopsis and review of the show.

The script is simply paper-thin. Basically it is a feeble attempt to re-enact a behind-the-scenes for Sex: The Annabel Chong Story. While the director apparently put in much thought into the performance I think most of it was not communicated to the audience, at least not effectively. So everything ended up pretty superficial.

Then there is the constant attempt to stab at the government, its policies and regulations. From talk about the frivolous pursuit of becoming number one and getting into the Guinness Book of Records (which was an attempt to connect Annabel’s record breaking feat) to a rather crude cross references of sexual positions to the typical Singaporean safe and ideal passage through life from birth to education to working life to marriage to procreation and finally death and the contingency if one slips up, and finally to the corny rendition of We Are Singapore (There was a time when people said that Annabel wouldn’t make it, but I did)

The topic of censorship was brought up through mentions of totally distasteful exhibitions where Josef Ng cut off his pubic hair, Vincent Leow drinking his own urine and Shannon Tham vomitting [reference here]. I have to say that its mention was pointless and extremely detrimental to the script. The discussion of forum theatre, which was sadly, only briefly mentioned, would have made a better, positive and constructive impact on the topic of censorship.

So the show pretty much left me in a mild state of disgust, mild because I didn’t pay for the tickets, not to mention relief. Then Loretta, the director, came on to the stage to thank the audience and dedicated the show to her parents. I was like, Huh? You are dedicating borderline porn to your parents in the audience? I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty inappropriate dedication. Oh well, whatever floats the boat.

Last but not least, and probably most importantly, where there any boobs? Yes! But only Ah Girl’s pair which is quite ample. And I think the make-up artist even put lip gloss on the nipples too, shiny tits.

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