SRT’s Hello Goodbye is a genuinely sweet yet snarky romantic comedy for a feel-good night with your partner or girlfriends
We’ve had many memorable nights at the theatre thanks to Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT). From countless romantic dates with the flawless Shakespeare in the Park productions to laugh-out-loud family productions, this leading theatre group has never failed us. So when we heard about Hello Goodbye – our curiosity was instantly piqued. Rom-coms are difficult to pull off theatre-wise, but SRT did not disappoint. Impetuous, “shouty” Juliet, played by theatre veteran Denise Tan (see our interview with her here!) moves into her apartment, only to find geeky toy collector Alex (played by Shane Mardjuki) already living there. With both resolute in their decision to stay put, the two immediately spark off a heated argument, fuelled by snarky, witty banter. It’s not long before their exchanging barbs turns into an unexpected (and saucy) turn of events…
The play opens on a hot summer’s day with Alex unpacking his boxes, and hanging up his many toy collections and Juliet walking in with her signature, haphazard ‘do and flighty self. Through the relentless verbal sparring, fascinating nuggets of information about the characters are humourously unveiled, like Juliet’s infidelity and Alex’s, ahem, bedroom skills. Judging by the many guffaws filling the room, we weren’t the only ones who were entertained. Mardjuki has all the best lines, emitting a very rom-comesque Collin Firth feel. The back-and-forth quick banter eventually leads to a sizzling peak – which set off genuine gasps in the audience due to the characters’ seeming hatred for each other.
What particularly hit all the right notes was the second act. While the first was all about witty banter and the budding romance, the second act takes on a more melancholic tone. Set ten years later, we are treated to a more matured Alex and Juliet; this time, harbouring a decade’s worth of resentment abated by moments of heart-aching tenderness and private jokes. Without revealing much, the second half took us by surprise a few times (heads up: prepare your tear ducts!)
Like all great romantic comedies, the chemistry between the protagonists is flawless. Juliet’s sassiness and unpredictable temperament seamlessly matches’s Alex’s quick wit and quiet charm. First staged by Hampstead Theatre, the script is fresh, vibrant and hilarious – and masterfully played out by the talented actors. While we won’t reveal whether Alex and Juliet’s summer love is here to stay, one thing’s for sure – this sharp and smartly funny rom-com will leave you with a serious case of the warm-fuzzies.
This article is sponsored by Singapore Repertory Theatre.