Dim Sum Dollies

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The Dim Sum Dollies are a musical cabaret group in Singapore, founded by Selena Tan, Emma Yong and Pamela Oei. The Dollies are known for their loud and colourful costumes, spectacular dance scenes and their comical but incisive approach to contemporary social issues in Singapore. Denise Tan is the new member of the group completing the trio after the death of Emma Yong in 2012.[1]

History[edit]

The trio began in 2002 with a gig at the Esplanade, A Single Woman. 2003 saw them perform to a sold-out crowd in the immensely well received Steaming!, which was followed by Revenge of the Dim Sum Dollies in 2004, Dim Sum Dollies: Singapore's Most Wanted in 2005, and Dim Sum Dollies: The History of Singapore! in 2007. In 2006, they lent their names to Glen Goei's adaptation of the off-Broadway musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors performed at Victoria Theatre. According to local director Ivan Heng,the name ‘Dim Sum Dollies’ was chosen because dim sum “came in threes, each morsel painstakingly prepared to please eye and palate”. This description describes the trio's presentation style on stage, which combines visually spectacular sets and costumes with an original take on all things Singaporean.

The Dim Sum Dollies are well-remembered for boldly addressing contemporary Singaporean phenomena in a light-hearted manner. The 2004 installment of Revenge of the Dim Sum Dollies had the Dollies dressed up as Filipino maids in a fog-filled heaven (all of them apparently died after falling off ledges while cleaning their employers’ windows). In a review by local playwright Alfian Sa’at, he notes with regards to this scene that ‘there has been an alarming trend of such accidental deaths in Singapore in the past year, and when the audience laughed, it was laughter laced with hurt. This was an instance, so prized in theatre, where one could provoke such contradictory emotions.’

Other memorable scenes that year saw the Dollies touching on the plight of much-maligned traffic wardens in ‘Parking Pontianaks’ and donning the trademark kebaya worn by Singapore Airlines stewardesses in ‘Singapore Girl’. In 2005's Dim Sum Dollies: Singapore's Most Wanted, the Dollies came on stage dressed up as food court aunties in one scene, while other segments had them satirizing the NKF saga and exploring issues such as slimming centres and the Merlion.

Dim Sum Dollies performed in the Love Amplified Concert, a concert held in Singapore to commemorate World AIDS Day 2008. The concert was held at Fort Canning Park, Singapore on 29 November 2008.

In 2010, they appointed as ambassadors for gracious campaign by the Public Transport Council with support from the Singapore Kindness Movement. The theme called "Love Your Ride", similar to the earlier "A Happy Journey Starts Like That" by Phua Chu Kang in 2009. Several jingles were recorded for the campaign.[2]

Emma Yong died of stomach cancer at the age of 36 in May 2012. Fellow actress Janice Koh said: "We have lost a beautiful actress and one of our most talented performers and singers tonight. Rest in peace, my dear Emma. Miss you ..." [3]

Cast[edit]

In real life, the original Dollies are three of Singapore's best-known theatre practitioners who have participated in several other plays and productions through the years.

  • Selena Tan has directed, produced and acted in productions such as Chang and Eng (1997), Jack Neo's I Not Stupid (2002), Cinderel-LAH (2003), and It Takes Two (2005).
  • Pam Oei has participated in several productions including Forever Fever (1998), Rent (2001), Boeing Boeing (2005), and Titoudao (2007).
  • Emma Yong's most memorable works include Mammon Inc. (2002), Boeing Boeing (2005), Dick Lee's Man of Letters (2006), and Cabaret (2006).
  • Denise Tan first replaced Yong in the 2011 edition of the Dim Sum Dollies.
  • Hossan Leong has supported the Dim Sum Dollies in several of their productions, beginning with Most Wanted in 2005. In 2006, he played the leading role of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, in which the Dollies complemented the main cast, injecting a Singaporean element into the off-Broadway hit.

References[edit]

External links[edit]