A variety show is a theatrical entertainment consisting of multiple separate performances (such as songs, dances, skits, and acrobatic feats). It is a type of entertainment that includes musical performances, sketch comedy, magic, acrobatics, juggling, and ventriloquism. It could be a live or televised stage performance of successive separate performances, usually of songs, dances, acrobatic feats, dramatic sketches, exhibitions of trained animals, or any specialties. When it was performed live in a theater, it was often referred to as a vaudeville show, but when television became the dominant form of entertainment, live vaudeville performances nearly disappeared.
Other types of acts include magic, animal and circus acts, acrobatics, juggling, and ventriloquism. The variety format evolved from the Victorian era stage to radio to television. Variety shows were a staple of anglophone television from its inception in the 1950s through the 1970s and into the 1980s. Variety television is still popular and widespread in many parts of the world.
Every year, in conjunction with the Annual Speech Day, our school holds a variety show. Last year’s show was exceptional, and everyone was very pleased with it. The show began with a group of girls performing the Chinese Fan Dance. The eight dancers, dressed in bright red samfu and holding bright red fans, were a sight to behold. The music was a traditional Chinese song played via a stereo set.
The solo rendition of Swanee River by S. Munusamy, who was dressed as a negro slave from bygone days, came next. He resembled a roadside beggar rather than a slave. In any case, we had no idea what a slave looked like, but judging by the raucous applause at the end of his performance, his act was clearly well-received.
Immediately following that was a comedy sketch performed by our school’s Boy Scouts. They had the audience in stitches right away when two boys dressed as pregnant women appeared on stage. The laughter of a few hundred parents, teachers, guests, and students rocked the entire school for the next ten minutes or so. I myself laughed until tears came out of my eyes and my side hurt. It was a long time since I had witnessed such a tunny sketch.
Following the comedy, some members of the school’s Silat Club performed a silat display. They delivered a polished performance, in my opinion. They must have spent hours practicing because some of the techniques they used required a high level of skill and concentration. A miscalculation could have resulted in serious injury, but they escaped unscathed.
Then there was the candle dance performed by our school’s youngest girls. These delicate little ones moved the saucers containing the lit candies with great grace. It was not an easy task because if one was not careful, one could easily burn oneself. Regardless, the dance went off without a hitch, save for one candle that was accidentally extinguished.
The show continued with songs performed by the School Choir, a bamboo dance performed by some students, a duet performed by two male teachers, another hilarious sketch by the Boy Scouts, and a final performance by the School Choir. Overall, it was a very successful show that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
The show ended with the Choir singing the Negaraku. For an ordinary high school, I would say the variety show was of high quality and could compete with any professional performance. As a result, we gave the performers a standing ovation. We then exited the hall and returned home.