Friday, 30 November 2012

Theatre Review: Jersey Boys @ Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Jersey Boys the Musical was based on the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, four blue-collar blokes from New Jersey who found success as one of the biggest band in the world.  The Singapore production at Marina Bay Sands was brought in by BASE Entertainment Asia and featured cast from South Africa.

The musical, which won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, traces the rise and the eventual splitting up of The Four Seasons, told from the point of view of each band member, representing  each season.  Tommy DeVito, who formed the band (and its previous incarnations), started with "Spring" and he elaborated on how the 4 key members came together.  In this segment, we also met Joe Pesci who played a role in connecting Bob Gaudio, the key songwriter, to the group.

In "Summer", it was Bob's turn to talk about his version of the story.  In this segment, 3 No 1 singles were introduced in quick succession: Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry and Walk Like A Man.  It also talked about how The Four Seasons fared and reacted during the British Invasion.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Magic Brush 神笔马良, 23 - 24 Nov 2012

Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Arts & Cultural Troupe restaged the children's musical The Magic Brush at the Marina Bay Sands Theatre.  The performances were in conjunction with the worldwide Hokkien people gathering in Singapore. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Review: Wi!d Rice's Hansel & Gretel

Welcome to the Sebastian Tan and Siti Khalijah show!  The 2 actors stole the show in Wild Rice's latest pantomine Hansel and Gretel.

Hansel and Gretel, played by Dwayne Tan and Denise Tan respectively, lived in Queenstown with their widowed father (Dwayne Lau).  In came prospective stepmother (Vernetta Lopez), who was more keen on shopping and be a singing star, and of course got rid of them in the Mandai jungle.

Ah Boys to Men

The good news.  Ah Boys to Men is now the second highest grossing local film and managed to recoup the costs.  A relief to the Singapore film industry.

But did I enjoy the movie?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Decimal Points 5.1, Cake Theatre Productions

From the flyers, "5.1 refers to the 6 channel surround sound multichannel audio system - the most commonly used layout in both commercial cinemas and home theatres.  It is also about the search of self in a densely populated space, a space with a population that is reaching 5.1 million". 

God of Carnage, Singapore Reperory Theatre (Singapore)

A play written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton would definitely be something audience would look forward to, in particular if it won both the Tony and Laurence Olivier Award.  And God of Carnage did not disappoint.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A collection of blog entries on Vietnam

Just starting this page to be the main reference point on Vietnam, in particular Hanoi.


Nans Cafe: From Essence Hanoi Hotel (see below), turn right and walk towards the junction Hang Bac, turn left and walk 50m on the left hand side)  Nans Cafe

For breakfast: Breakfast in Hanoi

Little Hanoi Restaurant

Xoi Yen Restaurant: Sticky rice in old town

Bun Cha (Grilled pork): Bun Cha Nem Cua De Dac Kim (Old Quarters)

Outside Old Quarters:

Vegetarian Restaurant: Com Chay Nang Cam Vegetarian Restaurant

Luon Nghe An - Eel cooked in various ways

Things to do in Hanoi:

One Pillar Pagoda

Water Puppets


Essence Hanoi Hotel


Vietnam celebrating Independence Day

Philippe Genty's Voyages to Nowhere

After over 20 years, Philippe Genty brought another production Voyageurs Immobiles (Voyagers to Nowhere) to Singapore, as part of the French Festival Singapore 2012. This should be his second visit to Singapore, the first for the Singapore Arts Festival in the late 80s. 

I also caught his earlier work Derives at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1990, its visual and sensual elements still lingered in my mind.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Makan Place, The Republic Cultural Centre Theatre

It was with great anticipation that I attended Tueday's evening musical performance of Makan Place, the first musical in Singapore.  It was first staged in 1988 and did not have a full staging till 2012.  Makan Place was part of REFLECTIONS, Republic Polytechnic's Community Arts Festival.

This musical talks about chasing your dreams and was set in roadside hawker stalls, a place that was disappearing from Singapore street scene except in touristy areas.  The 2 protagonists were Siew, a school student, and Zil, slightly older than Siew.  We did not see many instances of chasing their dreams: Siew was more infatuated with his tutor, and we were only left with Zil dreaming of show business.

We were introduced to the life of Singaporeans at that time: hawkers trying to make ends meet, and charging tourists higher price, the debt collectors, the Convent girls versus the boys' schools etc.   Playwright R Chandran (Act3 Theatrics) managed to incorporate these storylines well.

The cast consisted of students, staff and alumnus.  The stage definitely belonged to Lim Teck Kiang, who played Zil hilariously and managed to hold the show on his own.  And the staff members who played the hawkers did a good job, in particular Hafidz Abdullah who played Rahim the teh tarik man and Thng Poh Huat who played Pakcik Hassan.  The ensemble also did a competent job in the supporting and dancing roles.

As a college production, Makan Place was a polished performance and engaged the audience.  It was great to see a musical milestone in Singapore being restaged and hoped that the audience need not wait for another 25 years to see it again.