Written By: Gabriel Lim
Edited By: Cheryl Tan
It has been said by many wise men throughout the ages that the medium of theatre is the best way for Mankind to express the many hurts, sorrows, wants and dreams that he experiences as he undertakes the tumultuous journey in which we call Life. As such, I felt truly privileged to be given the honour of being among the selected (but albeit extremely drenched, given the treacherous weather conditions present on that fateful evening) few who were able to witness the momentous undertaking that was none other than King Edward VII Hall’s annual Hallplay for 2016. Without further ado, I present to you Laugh? I Nearly Went to Miami!
The KE Hallplay team put its own spin on the 1985 production by Miles Tredinnick, delivering a unique masterpiece that was both intriguing and entertaining, never failing to keep the enraptured full-house audience either on the edge of their seats in suspense or breaking out in fits of voracious laughter. There was never a dull moment as the story of how a certain seemingly goody-two-shoes husband and wife to-be unfolded after their discovery of various clandestine materials in luggage that was supposedly theirs.
The amazing production was put together by our very own amazing Hallplay team, which was headed by none other than Austin Tan (Producer, Seated, Third from Right), Sharon Kaur (Director, Seated, Centre) and Russell Lim (Production Manager, Seated, Third from Left). The hard work that was put in by all the departments was clearly evident in the weeks that led up to the two days of the show, and on the nights of the 22nd and 23rd itself. Here are some examples of various pictorial evidences to provide our discerning readers indisputable proof of the hard work put in by the Hallplay team!
However, besides the effort of the elite trio, the Hallplay would not have been possible without the presence and labours of a few very talented and capable individuals. They are none other than the KE Hall Play Cast! Introducing the cast of Hallplay 15/16, starring:
Simon Gwozdz as Tom Neals, a devoted fan of Elvis Presley and the soon-to-be husband of Alice. Also has a very traditionalist and conservative mindset.
Hema Ramasamy as Alice Martin, an old fashioned girl with a distinct penchant for dishonesty.
Harsh Kackar as Barney Weals, brother to Tom and self-proclaimed womaniser. He also has a rocky relationship with future sister-in-law.
Adila Shahrin as Britney, Barney’s one-time girlfriend whose personality borders on the superficial and propensity for material wealth borders on the extreme.
Tay Pei Ling as Auntie, the sweet old lady who displays her many eccentricities when handed a bottle of brandy.
Gwyn Tan as Frankie, an intimidating gangster who has yet to learn to count to ten.
And last but not least, Liew Jing Yee as Inspector Hendy, a brave but sceptical police inspector with a strong sense of justice.
**Before you continue reading this, I would hereby like to warn all readers on the sensitive nature of the rest of this article, and to take careful heed of the warning stated below before continuing to peruse the rest of the article**
To all those who
were too lazy to watch the play have watched the play already, please continue reading this article if you are desperate to get spoiled for a brief synopsis of the play.
Tom and Alice are entering their sparsely furnished apartment on a night with particularly bad weather. The soon-to-be-married couple are both crestfallen over the fact that their flight to Miami for their Honeymoon had been disrupted by an unfortunately timed fog on the night on their flight. They glumly trod into their apartment, dragging their luggage behind them. Tom is miserable as he will miss the Elvis Presley convention due to the flight delay, while Alice is mad at him for not being more concerned about their honeymoon.
After Alice retires to her room, Tom’s brother, Barney, arrives at the house, expecting to find it empty. Unfortunately, after discovering the house was not left vacant for his and his latest girlfriend‘s exclusive use, Barney attempts to convince his brother to take his fiancé with him and leave the apartment. However, Barney only manages to reach a compromise to have the house to himself when Alice and Tom have left for Miami.
After Barney leaves, Alice and Tom open their luggage to unpack, and to Tom’s horror and Alice’s delight, they find five hundred thousand dollars in the luggage! Tom is insistent on returning the money to one Mr Bruce Wang while Alice wants to keep it. Their discussion is interrupted with the ring of the doorbell, with Alice quickly scrambling to hide the money in her bedroom while Tom answers the door.
The door opens to reveal Barney back again, coming to take the key for the apartment from his brother. Unfortunately, as Barney is about to leave, Alice inadvertently blurts out that she and Tom has five hundred thousand dollars. The hapless couple then try to backpedal and convince a cynical Barney that they did not actually have the money. Although he is unconvinced, he eventually leaves.
Alice and Tom continue to argue over the money when Barney leaves, and when Tom’s back is turned, she hides a significant portion of the money in the liquor cabinet. Pleased at having hidden a portion of the money, Alice grudgingly agrees to return the portion of the money remaining in the luggage. They then both leave the apartment to return the money, with Tom being unaware that Alice had hidden some of the money in the liquor cabinet.
The scene then shifts to Barney and his latest girlfriend, Britney, entering the house for a fling. Consequently, Barney (no prizes for guessing) accidentally discovers the stash of money Alice has hidden in the liquor cabinet. Barney incorrectly assumes his brother had stolen the money and attempts to contact Tom by phone just as the doorbell rings. After receiving a certain threatening phone call from one of Mr Wang’s thugs, Barney attempts to get Britney out of the way so that he can take all the money covertly. He just manages to get her into the kitchen to make coffee when the doorbell rings. Thinking that the gangsters have arrived, he then attempts to compose himself before opening the door.
The door opens to reveal Alice’s auntie, whom Barney immediately believes to be the thug that had called him earlier, while in fact, she is actually just coming to visit Tom and Alice to present them with their wedding gift. In her advanced age, she mistakenly assumes Barney to be his brother, Tom. They then start up an amusing conversation over which Auntie attempts to give Barney the money, (as she incorrectly assumes that he is Tom) while Barney is afraid of taking the cash as he does not want to take money from a gangster. Barney then tries to convince Auntie that ‘Tom’ has changed his mind and has decided not to marry Alice after all, as he is already attached to another girl. When Britney steps out of the Kitchen, ‘Tom’ introduces her to Auntie as his fiancée, leaving Auntie extremely distraught. Upset that her niece would not be marrying Tom after all, she then leaves the apartment.
After Auntie leaves, Barney admits to Britney that he believes Auntie is a gangster coming to claim the money that Tom had robbed but had forgotten about. As they are deciding what to do with the money, the doorbell rings again. It is Auntie, back to take her handbag which she had forgotten in her haste. Barney then attempts to return her the money in the cabinet which he mistakenly believes to be hers, but Auntie is insistent on retrieving just her own money in her own bag. A tussle ensues. Inevitably, with all the money being carelessly bandied about, Auntie and Barney accidentally drop all their cash into one disorganised pile, leaving both parties unsure of which portion of the money belongs to whom. As the three (including Britney) scramble to claim the dropped money, Tom and Alice return to the apartment. After a clearly confused conversation, Auntie mistakenly believes her niece Alice to be marrying Tom’s crazy brother Barney (who is actually Tom, the brothers have just swapped places from Auntie’s perspective) and promptly faints at the news.
Tom and Alice then attempt to revive the unconscious Auntie by dragging her to the bedroom and giving her some brandy. In the meantime, Barney tries to reprimand Tom for his supposed theft of the money, but Tom, clearly misunderstanding the situation, is completely unaware of his brother’s erroneous deduction of him stealing the money from a bank. As Alice and Tom are in the bedroom attending to Auntie, the phone rings. Barney then decides picks it up while posing as Tom. The call is from the airport, informing Tom that the fog has lifted. Realising that he would be able to make a break for it, the rough outlines of a sinister plan begin to form in Barney’s mind. After some discussion with Britney, the pair decide to take Tom’s airline tickets and money, leaving a token sum behind for his brother and fiancée. The deed done, they then escape with the cash while Tom and Alice are still busy with Auntie.
Upon their departure, Tom and Alice exit the bedroom to find out that Britney and his brother had left and taken away almost all the money! As Tom and Alice come to terms with their distressing discovery, Auntie has regained consciousness in the meantime and drunkenly stumbles out of the bedroom. After Auntie mistakenly chastises Tom for not wanting to marry Alice, she attempts to engage in various forms of inappropriate actions with Tom. As such, Tom is forced to carry the inebriated Auntie back to the bedroom.
The doorbell rings yet again. This time, Tom is greeted by one of Mr Wang’s thugs, Frankie. Despite Frankie’s initial menacing demeanour, the two manage to bond over what Tom assumes to be a shared love of Elvis Presley (Frankie is, in actuality, raving about his boss). As Tom leaves to make the both of them tea, Frankie makes a call to his boss, and subsequently leaves the apartment to check on his men.
After Frankie leaves, Tom and Alice are in hysterics as they believe that Frankie is a plain clothes policeman coming to arrest them for stealing the money. They then attempt to make a hurried escape with the still-drunk Auntie, but are stopped at the door by Frankie, who is by now very frustrated and resorts to violence, even training a gun on the couple to convince them to hand over the money. Unfortunately for Frankie, the doorbell rings yet again. Frankie improvises and grabs Tom as a hostage and rushes to the bathroom to hide.
Alice opens the door to Inspector Hendy, who duly informs her that Tom’s brother Barney and his girlfriend have been caught making purchases with counterfeit money at the airport. Explaining that Barney had implicated his brother Tom, he has no choice but to search the apartment. Knowing that Tom and Frankie are stashed in the bathroom, Alice attempts to stop the Inspector from his search by suggesting that Tom and Frankie are taking a bath together.
Tom, Alice and Frankie enter the bathroom to ‘get dressed’, much to the Inspector’s disgust. As Hendy proceeds to search the other rooms, he stumbles on the bedroom immediately backs out as a furious Auntie reprimands him for entering the bedroom without knocking first. After an exchange involving Auntie sharing about her lost cash, she drunkenly stumbles back to the bedroom to find her plates, beckoning to the bewildered Inspector who then follows her.
The trio in the bathroom then attempt to leave the apartment to meet Frankie’s boss, but are stopped by Inspector Hendy and Auntie as they come out from the bedroom. A stand-off ensues, with the Inspector trying to get answers out of the trio and Frankie refusing to answer anything. Never one to resist the lure of a quick solution, Frankie brandishes his gun in an attempt to escape but is swiftly disarmed by the Inspector by a swift kick to the groin. The Inspector arrests him and they both leave.
After the Inspector and thug leave, Barney and Britney then enter the apartment. Having been released on bail, they are back to return the luggage to Tom and Alice. However, a ticking noise from one of the bags sets the four of them in a frenzy and behind the sofas for cover, but Auntie is unperturbed and insists upon opening the luggage for her despite the frantic pleas from the rest for her to do the contrary. Once Auntie opens the luggage, it is revealed to everyone’s relief that the ticking sound was coming from Tom’s alarm clock.
It was at that moment that everyone realised that the correct luggage had been returned to Tom and Alice and that their Five Hundred Thousand was gone! The group then realised that Mr Wang had switched his luggage with Tom and Alice’s as he wanted them to smuggle the hundreds of credit cards present in the luggage through customs. Then, without warning, Auntie dropped the biggest bombshell of all – the forged notes were hers! Apparently, Auntie had been forging notes for years and the money that she was going to give Tom and Alice for their Honeymoon were complete forgeries!
With all the cards revealed, Britney rejects Barney and decides to go to bed before her work the next day, and Tom and Alice are already planning their make-up honeymoon. The play closes with Auntie about to leave the apartment when Barney asks her to stay a while. They then discuss the various methods she uses to forge her notes even as she moves to a more……. provocative position. With that, the curtain drops. How could you, Auntie?
Photos courtesy of KE Vision