Entertainment Hive 2020

Hotel presented by Wild Rice

OzAsia Festival, Dunstan Playhouse, until Saturday, September 30

Review by Honey B

Wild Rice’s epic historical play, Hotel, is a welcoming piece of theatre. Hotel is a mesmerising drama which covers 100 years of Singaporean history. Each of the 11 scenes were set in one room of an unnamed hotel, but it’s most likely the iconic Raffles that the hotel is based on, and the show goes for almost 5 hours and was shown in two parts. The 14 actors were all sublime and they showed their versatility across a range of periods and styles. The action started in 1915 with the Colonial Brits and a heart-wrenching piece of history and each vignette deals with a specific time period including the 1945 occupation of Singapore by the Japanese, Chinese girls being sold as slaves, the Bugis Street queens in 1975 and the dawn of technology in the eighties. The sets were changed by the actors themselves as they donned hotel uniforms and quite often sang as they worked. With these subtle furniture changes and different wallpaper styles projected onto the walls the eras changed. Newspapers articles were also projected onto the set to further cement the time period of the pieces. Much like watching reality television, audience members awaited some favourite characters to return to the room and they did either themselves or they were mentioned, such as Dawood and Sharifah a “comfort woman’’ in 1945. Empires rise and fall in this mesmerising play, but time keeps marching on in this truly multi- cultural nation. This play raises many political and cultural issues and no matter where we are all from we are all one colour – red, the colour of our blood. This was engaging theatre and a top hit of this year’s OzAsia Festival.
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