Monday, 20 August 2012

Crossings, The Necessary Stage & Trafik (Croatia)

There is always a challenge of staging collaborations between theatre companies, in particular across language and culture barriers.  The project by The Necessary Stage (TNS, Singapore) and Trafik (Croatia) made an attempt in the staging of Crossings.

Based on an Asian myth and also a historical event in former Yugoslavia, both narratives worked well when presented on its own.  It how did not gel as a production.  We were like watching 2 productions juxtaposing one another and did not see much collaboration on stage.

Having said that, the production standards were high, and the Singaporean and Croatian actors gave a good performance.  Probably a better co-production second time round.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ciputra Hanoi: Private Residential Area

I always wanted to see how the priviate residential area in Hanoi look like.  So on a Sunday afternoon, I asked the hotel staff to recommend a place to take a look.  Taxi ride from the Hanoi Old Hanoi to Ciputra Hanoi (past the West Lake) costs about US$14.

The area was rather isolated, and the surrounding was still the odd shophouses and empty land.  Passed by the security guard post and you would see the apartments.

Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim

At 67 Duong Thanh, near the Hoam Kiem Lake, there is a stall that serves good Bun Cha (beef patties/ grilled pork).  The street and house number may take a while to locate, do ask around.   Photo shows the shop front.

It opens till late afternoon.  And one lady server speaks English.  Other staff would know what you want.

It is said that bun cha originated from Hanoi.  It is served with rice vermicelli and herbs, where you dip them into a bowl of fish sauce. 

The stall also servies other side dishes but it is not necessary if you do not have a big appetite.

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Restaurant Xôi Yến: Place for sticky rice

At the junction of Nguyen Huu Huan (No 35B) and Hang Bac Street in the old town, a well known eatery Restaurant Xôi Yến serves good sticky rice. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Another location for Cafe Nang, Hanoi

I was strolling in the Old Quarter and chanced upon another branch of Cafe Nang. (See my previous entry of Cafe Nang @ 6 Hang Bac).

It is located along the main road Nguyen Huu Huan, which is the same street as the Restaurant Xoi Yen, the sticky rice stall.  This outlet is cleaner and quieter and the price charged for the coffee is the same.  But I still like the old-world charm and atmosphere at the 6 Hang Bac stall.  I have to stress that the coffee tastes equally good in this outlet.

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Saturday, 11 August 2012

As in Dream by Ding Yi Music Company 如梦令 (鼎艺团)

Chinese music ensemble Ding Yi Music Company staged a pipa solo recital featuring Chua Yew Kok.

The program featured mostly contemporary works but still accessible to majority of audience.  Pieces like "Yin" incorporated videography and Anecdotic Drawing had Faye Tan doing a solo dance.  First half was more challenging in terms of song choices.  While Chen Yi's As in Dream was chosen as the name of this performance, it was the least favourite to me.

Tell me when to laugh and when to cry by Peter Sau

In this production, Peter Sau revisited 4 characters he had played previously and created another one: Brandon the taxi driver(from Cooling off day), Daniel (A language of their own), Mosquito Man (Nothing), Mother (House of Sins) and newly created Gaga Peterina.

In the first part, the 5 characters had encounters with the actor separately.   In the second part, the various characters interacted with each other.

One needs not understand the original setting of the play the characters were based on to appreciate this performance. However, as the characters are quite diverse in background, it was a challenge fitting them together.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Purple by Toy Factory

You entered into a circus tent and greeted by 3 not-so-friendly staff.  Well, we were supposed to see a special exhibit which happened to be transsexual Maggie Lai.  This was the setting of Goh Boon Teck's Purple, which was restaged this time at Joyden Hall.

Well it may be too obvious using the circus as a setting, but it may work if the director had put some thoughts into it.  Other than the few trapeze acts and "Maggie" doing the pole dance, the circus theme and set were not fully exploited.

Shane Mardjuki did a commendable job as Maggie Lai, though he sometimes lapsed into his other accent.  And since he is playing a Chinese character, it would be great if he could get the Chinese/dialect diction right.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

La Cage Aux Folles

Caught the second last performance of La Cage aux Folles by Wild Rice.  It was a play about George who owned the nightclub La Cage and his partner Albin who was the star of the cabaret. The drama starts when George's son John revealed the news that he was getting married to the daughter of a conservative politician.