Short+Sweet fest at KLPAC

IT’S that time of the year when the Short+Sweet Festival is on the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in Sentul.

For me, it’s like looking through a kaleidoscope of energy, creativity and sheer gumption with performances each just 10 minutes long.

It was raining that Friday evening as I went through snarls of traffic to get to KLpac, sadly missing a few acts in the S+S Stand-Up Comedy & Song.

In song and comedy, you have to respect the participants for trying to bring a fresh perspective to run-of-the-mill scenarios.

Some of the jokes had inferences to well-known films, others alluded to sexual parts and some took digs at cultural differences.

The original songs bravely offered mostly told of love — lost, unrequited, or to come.

Highlights for me that night in the 19 stand-up comedy offerings included James Soo with his take on being HR — Highly Rejectable. Coming on stage as if straight from work in the Human Resources department somewhere, his take on dating someone like him who looks like a boring person and that of HR work was relatable.

Then there was Nigerian Ugo Temple, who said he came from Penang for the show. His views of being dark-skinned and trying to find love in Malaysia were laugh-out loud at times. Using local festivals like Chap Goh Mei, Hungry Ghost, and Thaipusam, you couldn’t help smile at his version of local iodiosyncracies.

Garu, who said he was a Bangladesh student, lent his insight into our perception and perspective on this large foreign employee segment. “You think we came to this country knowing how to cook char kway teo?” he posed to the audience.

He veered off into sexual innuendoes that brought a palpable stunned pause from the audience, but that aside, it wasn’t too bad a 10-minute show.

There was also a cross-dresser, and those who offered their delivery in Bahasa Malaysia.

Music-wise, love was on the bill. The 10 offerings using voice, guitars, electric organs, and drums in some form came from mature and young talents.

One of the highlights for me was pop guitarist Jonathan Mah and freestyle agent Bryan Perry with a song on slowing down to enjoy life one step at a time.

OneBrainCell with All This Time (Slow Down) ALL PiX COURTESY OF KLPAC/Cheah Eng Cheng

Calling themselves OneBrainCell, Bryan showed his confidence,, dancing to “All This Time (Slow Down) with smooth moves all across the stage.

The closing act was a blast from Aristars Atrias. With a hard-driving beat and fast-paced vocals, I was sent back to those clubbing days! I just couldn’t stop feet tapping and head bobbing. While the music grabbed my attention more than the lyrics, thumbs-up to Emme, Daus and Fairus.

Kudos to the KLPAC production team for keeping pace with the acts, and not missing a beat to the switch in videos and graphics.

Founded by Mark Cleary in Sydney in 2001, the Short+Sweet Festival has been on KLPAC’s bill since 2008, unearthing new talents and stage works.

The festival offers S+S Musical & Theatre (Week 1) from Oct 13-14, followed by Dance from Oct 20-22, ending with Musical & Theatre from Oct 27-29.

Where: KLpac, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Sentul, Kuala Lumpur

Call 03 4047 9000 or email


NB: This article has appeared in some form in the New Straits Times.

Filed under Arts
Subhadra Devan

A journalist who has been writing about culture, arts and heritage since the 1980s. She is herself gobsmacked to have started the Sunday arts pages for English newspapers in Malaysia, in the new millennium. The passion for these genres rages on.

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