Sunday 2015-05-10

Jeff Chen presented his pained version of Kuo Pao Kun's Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral at the Esplanade. Of it, one reviewer (Corrie Tan of the Straits Times) said it "brings cabaret to the church".

Church is precisely correct; this hour-long sermon accuses itself and the audience of having no balls. After having made its point in the first ten minutes, it then dwells on its castration for the remaining fifty, refusing to grow a new pair.

Which mirrors to some extent the life of the playwright, as he was detained by the State for over four years and then rehabilitated. This history makes the play's accusations seem less like accurate insight and more like sour grapes.

Directorially, Chen breaks the fourth wall with his use of lighting and open set changes, which extend the play's indictment to include the audience, and just add to the Fail. This piece might work by better revealing its core of a war memorial and a broken soldier.