It was quiet when we arrived at Bobo KL in Bangsar. Douglas Lim, accompanied by his wife and manager, Natasha Fernz was already getting ready for the photoshoot and interview with Options.
The silence was almost palpable, owing perhaps to the empty performance space. Like many theatres, Bobo has remained shut for much of the year. Coincidentally, the last time I watched Lim perform live was here in this cosy loft. He and Gavin Yap played to a packed house in TerryandTheCuz’s Made In America.
It was March last year, before the show went on to restage at New York’s famed The Public Theater for almost a month in April and May. “It was definitely something that was very challenging,” says Lim when asked about the experience. “But we had to take the opportunity. It would be almost dumb not to.”
In many ways, it was a show made for a performer like Lim, who thrives on a close, live audience and being able to inhabit a slightly zany, larger-than-life character. Unlike the typical play performed just on stage, Made In America was designed to take up the whole floor, with the cast moving among the audience.
The story follows two polar-opposite scriptwriters trying to iron out their film plot just before they meet Hollywood executives to pitch and imagine their film coming to life. Lim, who plays the blockbuster-loving contrast to Yap’s more intellectual and poetic character, put on a show that reminded us why he is one of Malaysia’s most talented “triple threat” performers.
To say he has done it all may not be too much of an overstatement: from film and TV, where he is currently enjoying a renaissance in demand and popularity — but more on that later — to theatre and more. Many would remember his starring role in Broken Bridges, the original musical directed by Joe Hasham at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. Lim has been in most of the major productions in town, including P Ramlee the Musical, Tunku the Musical, Cuci, Supermokh, Lat the Musical and Ola Bola the Musical.
But his greatest passion and success in the last decade has been in comedy. Stand-up comedy for sure, but also his more recent evolution as a digital content creator. With everyone stuck at home in lockdown, Lim’s ability to create and deliver satirical video skits has made him one of the best gifts to Malaysians this year.
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