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Trust the Dim Sum Dollies (Selena Tan, Denise Tan and Pam Oei) and their madcap company to put the joy back into the holidays with their annual Crazy Christmas pantomime.

Pam Oei.

Delivering a Dolly good time - again

Dec 18, 2015 5:50 AM

CHRISTMAS usually isn't much fun: the last-minute shopping, the crowd crush at the mall, the Secret Santa gift you received that looks like it has been suspiciously recycled by somebody who knew better than to be caught in the crushing crowd of last-minute shoppers at the mall. We could go on but that wouldn't be in the spirit of the season.

Trust the Dim Sum Dollies (Selena Tan, Denise Tan and Pam Oei) and company to at least put the joy back into the holidays with their annual Crazy Christmas pantomime.

It's become a yearly theatre tradition and the audience knows exactly what they are going to get: namely the Dollies and company hamming things up with a local festive twist.

This year's, christened A Groundnutcracker, delivers on that count even though the 90-minute show was filled with hits and misses.

The gags, written by Selena Tan and Benjamin Lee (better known as blogger Mr Miyagi), are mostly wickedly spot-on.

Taking pot shots at foreign talents and censorship might not be fresh but going by the big laughs the jokes drew from the audience at last Saturday evening's performance, Singaporeans still can't get enough of it.

But even better are the timely ones: there are numerous parodies (good and bad) of Adele's current mega-hit Hello on the Internet but the one Oei sings in the show with a Hong Kong accent and a smattering of Cantonese lyrics truly blows the competition out of the water.

Another highlight is the Star Wars gag about Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Darth Vader applying for citizenship in Singapore, and performed to the tune of the traditional carol All I Want for Christmas.

It helps that the cast of Crazy Christmas is made up of a talented lot of well-known comedians multi-tasking as multiple madcap characters new and old.

Among them are Kumar playing an over-sized Indian elf who is sick of being exploited by a slave-driving Chinese Santa Claus played by Sebastian Tan; as well as the return of the Dream Academy favourites such as the latter's Hokkien-spewing alter ego Broadway Beng and Judee Tan's ultra-nerdy TCM practitioner Dr TCM (that's Teo Chew Moi, by the way).

While it's difficult to fault the funny bits, the carolling segments interspersed throughout the show felt obligatory as if to help Crazy Christmas fulfil its festive mood quota. (If it's any consolation, at least that gave the audience some time to recover from the bellyaches that might result from all that laughing.)

So while a cappella group Vocaluptuous and the inter-generational Dream Choir comprising members from seven (students from Nanyang Primary School) to 77 (participants from Henderson Senior Activity Centre) were sweet and delivered the goods - at the risk of sounding a bit like the Grinch - anticipation for the next comic sketch while those performances were going on was higher.

You can't help that feeling, especially when one knows the Dim Sum Dollies will deliver a jolly good time.

Crazy Christmas: A Groundnutcracker runs until Dec 19 at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets from Sistic and at the venue's box office