It's not every day you see an international artist traipsing through a theater lobby in shorts, snapping pictures of the usherettes.
We did, last Saturday. John and I were hanging out in front of Jubilee Hall spending a lazy afternoon, trying to decide whether to watch Rainer Hersch that evening. He was billed as a classical music stand-up comedian doing a one-act play about a Danish pianist, and we weren't quite sure what that really meant. The usherette set up a table outside the theater but wasn't selling tickets yet. If this was Manila I would have given up hope of getting in, but we've learned that in Singapore shows never sell out. My theory is, too many shows, too small a population.
Rainer popped out the theater's double doors, chit-chatted with the staff, and started taking souvenir pictures of the usherette and the theater manager. That did it for me - I figured any international comedian who is down to earth enough to do that is bound to be funny.
I wasn't disappointed. Rainer started the show with an impression of Victor Borge, the Danish musical comic. Don't worry, I hadn't heard of him either. The impressions soon had us rocking with laughter, and so did his twists on famous classical pieces. It's amazing how well a piano can deliver punch lines.
Rainer's humor has a distinctly European flavor. Self-deprecating (he's half-English) and delivered deadpan (he's half-German), Rainer poked fun at everyone from the Welsh ("Never play Scrabble with a Welshman. He'll look at a rack of seven consonants and think, 'Oh, I've won.'") to the Danes and the Germans, noting that Americans have no clue where Denmark is until you tell them it's two days by Panzer from Berlin.
I had a couple of slow moments along the way - at least one musical piece I didn't get, a joke that flew over my head, and a weak encore having to do with opera - but overall it was an enjoyable show.
This was his second visit to Singapore, he explained, adding, "My agent says you play Singapore twice in your career, once on the way up and once... never mind." Who knows where we'll see him next time.
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