Adventures of the Singing Acupuncturist: Big O Finds Her Soul

Thankfully, there was no combination of singing and acupuncture. And that’s where the relief ended as far as Adventures of the Singing Acupuncturist was concerned. Olivia, the singing acupuncturist in question, took us through her life story via monologue and the adaptation of popular musical classics in a show only made less painful to watch by the lack of needles involved.

At least there wasn’t any acupuncture in this show but I can’t say that the result was much less painful for it.

It’s not like Olivia has had a boring life; far from it. She has lived in Korea, New York City, Switzerland, the UK and struggled with her dual identity as both American and Korean. Her monologue, however, was boring, self-absorbed and vain. A running joke throughout the show was that she ‘stopped ageing’ after 28, as she added an uncomfortable and unnatural wink as she refers to herself as ‘28 and two thirds.’ Her conclusion to her insecurities boils down to this: she lives in Las Vegas now, where she can have plastic surgery to alter anything she dislikes about herself. A dismaying conclusion to a show that markets itself as ‘for the whole family.’

Things only got worse, with an attempt at encouraging the audience (of which there were three of us) to engage in therapeutic laughter. An awkward chuckle was about as far as it got. A sound therapy mantra was also forced upon us, involving words written on laminated paper that we were expected to repeat back to her– part of her new sound therapy exercises.

It was altogether an awkward experience for all involved. Her rendition of I Love to Laugh was painful and she destroyed Don’t Stop Me Now, completely out of time and often out of tune. Tripping up over her lines, over-theatrical and over-dramatic, there was very little that was actually enjoyable about this show, which more closely resembled a self-involved monologue of her life story punctuated by karaoke and embarrassing dance routines than a musical theatre performance. At least there wasn’t any acupuncture in this show but I can’t say that the result was much less painful for it.

Reviews by Katherine Price

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Performances

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The Blurb

Soaring above popcorn clouds with Pegasus, Big O is back! Enjoy the year of the horse, as Olivia the singing acupuncturist embarks on a new journey, exploring the stuff that heals the soul. What is your soul telling you? Come and find out, as Big O sings the songs of her soul. Storytelling, music and laughter for the whole family. Another world premiere, this marks her fourth musical at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more info visit http://oliviarhee.tumblr.com.

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