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Wanton Me!
21/05/2006
The Star
CHEAP SHOTS & MINDLESS FUN
By Daphne Lee

I'm not sure if my ever-widening girth is to blame for me finding the fat jokes in Wanton Me as lame as blaming your dog's appetite for homework you didn't bother to do.

I don't think it's a personal thing, though. I mean, surely any self-respecting person, no matter their dress size, would agree that it's pretty pathetic that a large woman jiggling her bits is all it takes to get an audience howling with laughter.

What I definitely did resent, as one fatty watching another, is how Singaporean comedian Selena Tan religiously – or rather, irreverently – adhered to the stereotypical image of the fat, jolly woman, the barrel of laughs. Should all fat girls aspire to be comedians?

I know I'm sick of being told how I'm really quite sulky for someone who weighs more than 60kg, but I guess Tan has every right to capitalise on her assets!

On the other end of the scale was Hossan Leong, whose work I've been familiar with for at least a decade. He's never before made much of an impression on me, but Wanton Me (which opened on Tuesday at the Actors Studio in Kuala Lumpur) revealed a new and improved version.

In fact, Leong now reminds me of one of my favourite comic actors of all time – Kenneth Williams! The flaring nostrils must have something to do with it. And the mincing voice and flamboyant arms gestures.

I was squirming in my seat, however, when he did a number about being a gigolo, complete with hip thrusts and lecherous smirks. Very weird – it was like watching my granny do a striptease: inappropriate and really nauseating.

His impersonation of a gay National Serviceman, on the other hand, had me practically rolling on the floor – it was so perfectly timed and ? so, so convincing.

I think he could have easily carried the show on his own and so could have Tan. Together, there could have been more interaction, more witty repartee.

I had hoped for quick-as-lightning exchanges, but all they gave us were some cheap shots by Leong at Tan's "prosperous" proportions and his mock shock-and-horror expressions at his co-star's less than flattering quips about him.

As for the musical numbers (with Leong at the piano and, at times, singing with Tan) ... again, I was expecting more originality, not just pop standards fitted with saucy (but not particularly funny) new lyrics.

Still, Wanton Me is not a bad way to spend the night out. If you're after some mindless entertainment, Tan is funny in a rowdy, loud, rugby player sort of way. Her routine brings to mind the stand-up acts at KL's Boom Boom Room – full of crass, smutty jokes and double entendres.

Best of all are her rude comments about Singaporeans. Clever woman! What better way to get Malaysians rooting for you!

Oh, I nearly forgot: The stage decor includes a chandelier comprising tiers of scarlet bras. For some, that alone would be a reason to go to Wanton Me.