Ahh… Let me recount this long overdue review of the stage production 《回音》 that we attended 4 Dec 2011 at the UCC, NUS.
First off, why did we want to attend this production? Well, there was one fundamental reason and one circumstantial reason. The fundamental reason was that, as a couple, Dear2 and I have been to numerous movies but had never been to any kind of stage performance events. Well, there was one which we attended during our first 3 months in NJC, and we sat next to each other, but we weren’t official going steady back then. So, it was like our long unfulfilled desire to finally attend a stage production (after 13 years together). The circumstantial reason was that, we’ve been listening to YES933 alot since we bought our car, and they’re been promoting this show alot on air, so we thought, why not? :)
Baby1 was 21 months old on then, so she was quite comfortable with her grandparents, and comfortable with us not being around for a while. On the day of the show, we brought her to my parents’ place and then set off for UCC.
Now, to the actual review bit.
I’ve been to UCC multiple times and know the layout of the hall quite well. But I was surprised upon arrival to find out that 《回音》 will not be using the main hall. Instead, they will use the side hall which I normally using as robing room for my convocation. That hall is really small and so it was a big disappointment for me.
The next big disappointment was our selection of seats. Because I had the main hall in mind when I selected the seats on SISTIC, I picked the $55 seats on the side because I knew the seats were comfortable and offer a decent view of the stage. This is not true for the side hall. First, the seats were make shift chairs, very uncomfortable. Second, there was a huge pillar right next to our seats and blocked off the one-third of the stage nearest to us. This meant that we had to lean forward and stretched our necks to see what is happening on stage throughout the show.
This was to be followed by even more disappointments with the actual show itself. I’ll break it down into three major categories.
First, the marketing efforts overhyped the production. I had my expectations high going in, only to be met with disappointment. For example, Jiahui on 933 mentioned that there was scene where she and her two fellow performers were able to complement one another and enabled an emotional performance. I found that scene too slow and not touching. So did Dear2.
Second, too many unnecessary characters. Going in, I know that this was a collaboration between 933, 958 and 972. But there was simply too many characters that had nearly no impact on the story. For example, the character played by Nicole Chua from 933 could have easily been removed and not affected the story at all. Also, there was no real need to change performers for the different ages of the characters Youying and Youguang. If Chong Qing from 933 could handle his character from young to old, why not the others? I think the casting crew simply overstretched themselves to include as many DJs as possible so as to make it look more like a collaborative effort amongst the 3 radio stations.
Third, the story was rather weak. 《回音》 was marketed as a celebration of 75 years of radio transmission. Naturally, I expected the show to focus on radio and perhaps the history of radio and the evolution of radio. Nope. The show seemed to instead focus on how radio brought together a pair of love birds, and eventually how the wife overcome her depression of losing her husband. I had heard an interview before the show in which the director claimed the story as touching. However, I found the story thin and lacks emotional connection.
Despite all my disappointments, I still had a good time because I was attending this with Dear2 and we’re fulfilling one of our long time dream. We also had lots of fun criticizing the show in unison on our ride back home and over the next few days. Well, this goes to demonstrate that it doesn’t matter whether the show/performance/movie is good or not, it’s who you are watching it with that matters.