You’re thinking of 2 tongues tangled in a display of lust and passion.

But A French Kiss In Singapore celebrates amour in a less graphic (but no less effective) way, by toasting the songs of 4 of The City of Love’s most famous (or infamous) singer-songwriters – from the controversial Serge Gansbourg to “the singing madman” Charles Trenet.

Theirs, Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel may not be household names to you, but if you love Westlife’sSeasons In The Sun” and Twinkle Ripley’s “Lonely Singing Doll”, you’re already familiar with their material.

So while it’s tempting to write this musical revue off as something for the older and upper class, be surprised by how accessible the show was, never mind if your grasp of the French language extends only to mispronounced escargots and croissants.

Peppered with English, as well as true blue Singaporean colloquialisms, this Sing’Theatre production is easy to identify with. Did we hear a yam seng [colloquial Cantonese phrase used for toasting] in “Je bois” (I drink)? Yes, we did.

Director, choreographer and 1 of the 4 performers George Chan made an excellent choice by roping in local comedian Hossan Leong, a familiar face on stage, 883JiaFM radio deejay Robin Goh, and theatre fresh face Sydney-born Linden Furnell.

Goh, who was the unforgettable leads in musical Chang and Eng, stood out with his luxuriant baritone vocals, providing ample support for the trio. Leong, on the other hand, gifted the crowd with his signature humor oozing out of each pore through his dramatic facial expressions and body language while Furnell provided much humor with his ability to express intense emotions in his voice while his lanky frame, providing dance moves that were slightly awkward for his height..

Naturally, although the others also managed admirably, the choreographer looked most at ease with the dance routines, given his flexible body and smooth hip gyrations.

Though the quartet’s harmony was patchy in places, each performer with his own strengths – more than made up for the revue’s shortcomings.

Of course, there’s not much point aggregating so much comic talent in 1 room without having plenty of comical moments. Be prepared for some hilarious global trotting in “Lonely Singing Doll” (“Poupée de cire, poupée de son”), for example. First to England and its famous Queen’s guard getup, then Holland, complete with exaggerated spit-hawking noises, to Czechoslovakia and finally kawaii[cute] Japan – played by, quite hilariously and ironically, by the only non-Asian in the cast, Furnell.

Leong, who was also the narrator in The Rocky Horror Show during its tour stop in Singapore 3 years ago, milked plenty of laughs as he cross dressed as a young girl, holding multiple lollipops – a nod towards Gainsbourg’s number, “Lollipops” (“Les Sucettes”). This singer-songwriter is notorious for double entendres and suggestive euphemisms, so take a look at the lyrics and you’ll get why this number was so hilariously suggestive.

It’s hard to imagine this irreverent pixie being conferred something as serious and prestigious as the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by France’s Ministry of Culture in 2010. But who could even think of that when he had us all in tears because of the sheer hilarity of sexual euphemisms in the songs.

To the audience’s delight, interaction with the performers was aplenty during the show with the quartet toasting alongside the crowd with faux alcohol bottles, and Furnell seated on the armrest of an innocent audience member while drunkenly crooning “I Drink” (“Je bois”).

The laughing soon gave way to a sniffle or 2 in the audience, when the cast paid a moving homage to the late Emma Yong, a third of the Dim Sum Dollies trio, who passed away last year from stomach cancer. “If You Go Away” (Ne me quitte pas) allowed us to hear a recording of her performance of that number.

Though the revue may seem that bit short of an educational trip down France’s music lane, the arrangement of songwriters in the order – Aznavour, Trenet, Gainsbourg and finally Brel – brings viewers on a journey of a young man from adolescence, to marriage, and finally death.

This is probably the precise intention of director Chan and scriptwriter Jasmine Teo. While this marks her debut with this production company, she’s had experience writing Leong’s The Hossan Leong Show 3 and 4, as well as Hossan-ah! The arrangement, coupled with hilarious one-liners (that was true about the songwriters) such as “he was never seen without his hat, which became an unlikely fashion trend”, said by the hilarious Hossan about Trenet.

On top of that, the creative team deserves props (pun unintended) for their attention to detail. The outfits mirrored each singer-songwriter, notably during their performance of Trenet’s hit, “La Mer”, with clothes that mirrored the French poor, and a real baguette (one for each show) for Furnell to hit Leong and Goh with.

In all, A French Kiss In Singapore is a quintessentially funny French dish served with an ample side of Singaporean and a twist of Australian. Just the kind of fusion theatre diet we’re all hungry for.

Runtime: Nov 27 to Dec 7
Pricing: $44 – $69 available at SISTIC

Photos Courtesy of Anne Valluy & Sing’Theatre