By Selina Chong
Tango is the first play commissioned by Pangdemonium, and what excites me most about it is that it is written by a young Singaporean. Playwright Joel Tan’s dialogue is rich and witty, capturing the Singaporean vernacular.
For me, Tango is a story about sons. Kenneth (Koh Boon Pin) returns to Singapore with his family to care for his ageing father; Jayden (Dylan Jenkins), an almost-adolescent just discovering how unkind society can be about his gay parents; and Benmin (Benjamin Chow), a 30-year-old coming to terms with his sexuality and feeling like he may be letting down those dearest to him.
While Tango explores and encourages discussions of LGBTQ issues in Singapore, the play is essentially about family.
Rather than polarising caricatures, the characters that Tan crafted are ones that you can recognise. For instance, Lok Meng Chue’s Poh Lin is the typical nosy neighbour. But even while she sparks off the chain of events that form the backbone of the plot (refusing to serve Kenneth and his company on the grounds of them being gay parents), you acknowledge her views and her beliefs.
Read the full review here.
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About the author(s)
Kathy Rowland is the Managing Editor of ArtsEquator.com, a registered charity that she co-founded with Jenny Daneels in 2016. The site is dedicated to supporting and promoting arts criticism with a regional perspective in Southeast Asia. Kathy has worked in the arts for over 25 years, working in the areas of critical writing and arts advocacy, with a special interest in media platforms for the arts. She is the Project Lead for ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asian Arts and Culture Censorship Documentation Project, launched in 2021. She has written extensively on censorship of arts and culture in Malaysia. She was a member of the International Programme Advisory Committee of the 8th World Summit on Arts and Culture, 2019.