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24 Hours


 

24 Hours

TICKLES BUT DOES NOT STRIKE A CHORD

Reviewed by Melissa De Silva

Composer: Babes Condes
Book and lyrics: Haresh Sharma
Cast: Serene Chen, Kevin Verghese
Date: 24 Mar 1999
Venue: the Drama Centre
Rating: **½ (out of five stars)

24 Hours - the musical, fell rather short of its own promise. Indeed, the characters burst into song frequently enough but the musical numbers were largely unmelodic and forgettable. Songs lacked a certain emotional punch and dynamism.

Likewise, the plot was a simple one - convenience store workers put up a fight to keep their workplace from being demolished to make way for the National Education Museum. However, the subplots were never fully developed. For example, the complexities of the relationship between the alcoholic rebel adolescent Ross and her sometimes absent mother were left unexplored.

In the same way, the thematic variety was not developed to its fullest. The gamut of themes touched upon ranged from maturing love, parental responsibility to various kinds of freedom (whether from childhood bullies or faceless authorities. The serious implications of the last theme was not, however, adequately dealt with: the police officer and news reporter who investigate the store's strike represent the indifference and obstructive power of the law and the media to the struggles of the common man to voice his convictions. Their agreement to not inform their superiors for fear of inciting a riot is overheard by Susan, much to her disgust. When she questions them, they can only give vague replies that "things" are more complex and the matter is settled. In this example, a more definite resolution was needed, yet sadly never came.

In mitigation, 24 Hours was saved thanks to a generous dose of humour and fun as well as a cast with good acting abilities. Serene Chen as Hwee Moi gave a moving performance when she faced the heartbreaking appeals of her boyfriend. Kevin Verghese, playing Romeo, the smart mouthed, bossy brain of the comic duo bullies, handled his role with delightful skill. The bullies' rendition of "It's Not Easy" came complete with air guitar riffs and a hilarious dance routine.

On the whole, 24 Hours provided more entertainment by way of humour than from any impressive musical score, song or dance number.

[This review first appeared in The Flying Inkpot.]