Broadway Beng turns 10
10 years on, Broadway Beng still has what it takes to be Singapore's favourite Ah Beng.
The first time I watched a Broadway Beng musical several years ago, I went in with zero knowledge of what to expect.
If anything, I was apprehensive that I would enjoy it, as lead actor Sebastian Tan is known for performing songs in Mandarin and dialects that I struggle to understand as a jiak gan tang (also known as a Chinese Singaporean who primarily speaks English).
For this year’s Broadway Beng instalment, I was excited to see what Sebastian Tan and his Chio Buus (pretty girls in Hokkien), Chriz Tong, Frances Lee and Munah Bagharib, had in store for the 10th anniversary of the musical.
Just like how Romeo has his Juliet, every Beng has his Chio Bu! His three Chio Buus are not just a pretty face. They showed off their remarkable set of pipes, and kept up with the transitions in between their songs seamlessly while dancing energetically throughout the 90-minute performance.
Broadway Beng opened like a classic Broadway musical, with Sebastian Tan appearing on stage in a glittering ruby red suit, belting out his first song like a true Broadway performer. Helming the stage mainly as a solo act, it is impressive how he makes the stage his own and exudes this charisma that captivates his audience.
Going beyond performing popular Mandarin and Hokkien songs, Broadway Beng also included snippets of current affairs, poking fun at himself and Singaporeans.
One of my favourite skits was when Sebastian Tan and his Chio Buus performed a very condensed and hilarious version of Les Misérables, peppered with Singlish and Hokkien in true Broadway Beng fashion, which showed off just how talented he and his Chio Buus are.
Although Sebastian Tan’s character as Broadway Beng is known to be comical, he does more than make you laugh at the hilarious retelling of his childhood anecdotes. He also tugs at your heartstrings by belting emotional and beautiful songs dedicated to his parents.
The Hokkien songs left many teary-eyed, myself included, even though I did not understand the lyrics in its entirety.
If you are worried that you will not enjoy Broadway Beng because of the language barrier, fret not! There are English translations provided on the screens during his non-English songs. While the very literal translations may not give you an accurate translation, they will still leave you tickled.
With an extraordinary multi-lingual repertoire, supported by a stellar cast and live band, Broadway Beng will entertain everyone regardless of language or age.
Broadway Beng: 10th Anniversary Concert runs till July 31 at the Capitol Theatre. Head here for more information.