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Review: Chef: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab

Jayley and Hayley Woo’s culinary-themed musical Chef: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab serves up a buffet of laughs. Better still if you’re seated with super on audience members.

A guy decked out in a chef outfit strolls out on stage. He announces his mobile number and requests for someone in the audience, a “pretty female” to be exact, to call him. His phone rings. But it’s a gruff voice on the other line. Cue audience laughter. 

Therein lies the appeal of Chef: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab, the bust-a-gut laugh fest built around audience participation. Not exactly the thing we reserved Singaporeans are used to but surprisingly enough, it works. Or maybe we were just lucky enough to attend a show full of gung-ho participants one Sunday afternoon. Just ask the guy and the girl who were pulled up on stage for a ‘blind date’. Or the sporting soul who was made to mimic the cast’s silly and crazy dance moves, which ended with him collapsing on the floor dramatically. Like we said, gung-ho.

Chef, a local adaptation of the long-running South Korean musical Bibap, by the same director who brought us popular comedy Nanta, orbits around two competing chefs, Red Chef (Yu Seonghyun) and Green Chef (Woo Youngwook). Their rivalry climaxes in a cook-off starring their signature dishes, chilli crab and bibimbap. They are assisted by a motley crew comprising the sultry Sexy Chef (Ko Eunhee), the hunky Iron Chef (Lee Sungmin) and our personal favourite, the bumbling Rookie Chef (Yang Donghyun) who drew the most laughs. Jayley Woo hammed it up as the cloyingly-sweet Cutie Chef (she takes turns playing the role with her twin sister, Hayley) while beatboxing duo (Park Seongjun as Rhythm Chef and Wii Daehan as MC Chef) serve up the sound effects. The group was full of beans, their energy brimming over like a simmering pot of stew, although we must say that Jayley’s performance bordered on OTT, even for theatre. But if we have one grouse, it would be the musical’s anticlimactic, um, climax.

Still, if you can look past that, the madcap bunch offers hearty servings of hilarious hijinks in this 75-minute eat-ravaganza. A sprinkling of Singlish like “wah lao eh”, “chio bu” and “kanasai” is thrown in for good measure. Also, keep an ear out for a familiar ditty sung by Red Chef that would make Chen Tianwen proud. All in all, Chef is a fun, feel-good comedy filled with slapstick-y moments sandwiched between song and dance. This is one delicious musical that will whet your appetite for non-verbal comedy.

Chef: Bibimbap vs Chilli Crab runs till July 22 at the Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa. Tix from Sistic.

Photo: Resorts World Sentosa

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