Category Archives: the arts

KidsFest 2014 – Tickets on sale now

Last weekend, I brought Asher to the KidsFest 2014 preview at the British Club where he met some of the performers, including the Gruffalo’s Child – a character which he is familiar with from the Gruffalo series of children books which Rachel reads to him:

Kids meet the Gruffalo's Child
Kids meet the Gruffalo’s Child
Asher hi-five with the gruffalo's child
Asher hi-five with the gruffalo’s child
Kids meet King Henry
Kids meet King Henry
Gruffalo story book reading time
Gruffalo story book reading time
Playing games
Playing games

KidsFest debuted in Hong Kong and Singapore in 2012 and will return from 15 Jan to 9 Feb 2014 next year with nine international theatre productions adapted from best-selling children’s books.

KidsFest 2014 muffins
KidsFest 2014 muffins

The family-friendly productions will be shown at two performing venues in 2014; at DBS Arts Centre and Drama Centre Theatre.

KidsFest 2014  also see the introduction of KidsFest+ – an exclusive backstage experience on scheduled dates for selected productions where fans can interact up close with the cast over an autograph or photo session – much like the fun preview session which I brought Asher to.

Roaaarrrrrr!
Roaaarrrrrr!

“KidsFest is an exciting festival for the whole family where compelling characters are brought to life and scenes from well-loved books are enacted vividly on stage. It is a wonderful platform for family bonding and at the same time, nurtures a child’s interest in literature and language. Our aim is for KidsFest to be a staple in Singapore’s calendar of cultural events when families can look forward to a series of world-class productions,” said Mr Matthew Gregory, Executive Producer of ABA Productions Pte Ltd.

The KidsFest 2014 organisers promise each production to be an adventure for the family; with catchy music, engaging scenes and even audience participation for some. There will also be surprises thrown in for the kids along the way.

Tickets are on sale now, with prices range from S$35 to S$62.

Book them at any SISTIC outlet, official SISTIC website or call the hotline 6348 5555. For more information, visit the official KidsFest website and the official Singapore Facebook page.

Here are some of the shows to look out for in KidsFest 2014: 

Back by popular demand is of course, the well-loved Gruffalo! This charming production adapted from the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler showcases Mouse’s adventurous journey into the ‘deep dark wood’ and his encounter with the terrifying Gruffalo. Though the use of sheer wit, learn how the quick-thinking Mouse evades danger.

Following hot on the heels of The Gruffalo’s sell out tour comes the must-watch sequel; The Gruffalo’s Child. Find out just how brave the Gruffalo’s Child is as she ventures into the ‘deep dark wood’ to find the ‘big bad mouse’, the one thing her father, The Gruffalo is afraid of.

For the history-buff, you’re in for a treat! Indulge in the drama during the Tudors dynasty at Horrible Histories Terrible Tudors starring the monarch, Henry VIII himself. Hear the legend (and the lies!), find out about the triumphs and what is so terrible during this enthralling era.

The HORRIBLE HISTORIES team also brings a fresh take into the mysterious world of ancient Egypt as they unearth the enigmatic symbols in Horrible Histories Awful Egyptians. Learn the power of the pyramids and discover the foul facts of death and decay with the meanest mummies in town – find out why the Egyptians made their mummies and how they did it!

Some other must-watch productions includes What the Lady Bird Heard, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Snow Dragon and Private Peaceful as they grace the local stage for the first time In 2014.

Advertisements

Everything But The Brain – a pair of tickets to giveaway!

Over the Hari Raya and National Day long weekend, I attended the opening preview of Sight Lines Entertainment’s Everything But The Brain on Saturday evening:

Everything But The Brain is written by award-winning playwright, Jean Tay and directed by Derrick Chew, artistic director of Sight Lines Entertainment.

Everything But The Brain tells the story of Elaine, a Physics teacher who hatches a plan to turn back time and save her stroke-afflicted father from further deterioration. Along the way, she is egged on by a chorus of three bears, occasionally distracted by a dashing young surgeon and haunted by a particularly memorable train ride to Malacca.

The play first premiered in 2005 to critical acclaim. After two sold-out runs, it went on to win two awards at the 2006 Life! Theatre Awards including “Best Original Script” and “Best Actor” (Gerald Chew).

Recently, Everything But The Brain has been chosen to be an O Level Literature text.

The play is presented by Boehringer Ingelheim and in association with the Singapore National Stroke Association.

Stroke affects one in every 6 persons in their lifetime. Each of us will know of someone or will ourselves be affected by stroke. Every stroke survivor has a different story. This play chronicles the journey of a stroke patient and his caregiver. When I first read the script for the play, I was taken aback how true to life the story is.” Said Deidre De Silva, President, Singapore National Stroke Association.

Like the topic of death, stroke is not a topic which most of us would like to talk about. This play is a good initiative to raise awareness.

I did not watch the play in 2005 and this is the first time I am seeing Everything But The Brain and being exposed to Jean Tay’s witty and poignant writing.

I like how time travel and physics is weaved into the play, adding depth and dimensions to the theme of stroke and dementia.

The three bears seem awkward at first, but they are important plot devices to bring out the complex relationship between Elaine and her father. Without them, the play would have been stripped to a string of dialogues between two persons.

If you are interested to find out more about Everything But The Brain or to book tickets, do visit the official Sight Line Entertainment website. Ticket discounts are available for OCBC card holders and for school bookings.

If you are interested to win a pair of tickets to Everything But The Brain on 18 August (Sun), 8pm at DBS Arts Centre (worth S$110), simply like my Facebook page and Sight Line Entertainment Facebook page. After that, drop me an email by 15 August (Thurs) noon at alvinologist@gmail.com with your name, contact number and NRIC/ passport number. I will select the winner by random draw on the same day and notify you by evening via email. 

UPDATE (15 Aug 2013): Congratulations to Ms. Chow Sue Ling, NRIC: SXXXX825F. I will contacting you via email on the tickets collection. Enjoy the show! 🙂

Everything But The Brain

10 – 21 August 2013
DBS Arts Centre, Home of SRT

Show Schedule:
10 – 11 August
16 – 21 August
Tues – Fri: 8pm
Sat & Sun: 3pm & 8pm

Starring:
Gerald Chew, Koh Wan Ching,
Edward Choy, Faizal Abdullah,
Amanda Tee & Cassandra Sypkerman

The Phantom Of The Opera Returns to Singapore at Marina Bay Sands

Broadway’s longest running musical, The Phantom Of The Opera, is here again in Singapore!

Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s phenomenal hit celebrated its 27th anniversary on the West End stage last year, and continues to play to full houses nightly in London, New York and around the world. The musical has been seen by over 130 million people worldwide; has been performed in more than 27 countries; has won over 50 major theatre awards, and has grossed more than US$5.6 billion.

The Phantom Of The Opera is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of the novel Le Fantome De L’Opera by Gaston Leroux. It tells the heart-wrenching story of the mysterious, hideously disfigured Phantom who lives beneath the Paris Opera House, and his obsession with the young singer Christine. Disguised as the ‘Angel of Music’, he devotes himself to creating a new opera star, and winning her love from his rival Raoul, while exercising a reign of terror over the Opera House.

With 130 cast, crew and orchestra members, jaw-dropping scenery, breathtaking special effects, and more than 230 stunning costumes, The Phantom Of The Opera contains some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous and stirring music.

It last arrived on our shores at the Kallang Theatre in 1995 and the Esplanade Theatre in 2007. From 18 July 2013, it will take up residence in the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands for a limited season.

Although I know of the musical, I am surprise I have not seen it even once, whether in the theatres or the movie adaptation. I missed the musical in 1995 and 2007, I have to see it this time.

And I did…

on the opening night!

I watched the musical without any prior knowledge of the plot and I enjoyed it all the more. The staging was lavish, with some clever play of lighting and props for dramatic effects.

The cast sang well. When I heard familiar songs like Phantom of the Opera and Music of the Night being sung in the context of the musical, the songs became even more endearing and emotional to me:

“Softly, deftly music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it secretly poseess you
Open up your mind let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night”

In this season run in Singapore, American actor Brad Little, 49, plays the lead role of the tortured, lovelorn Phantom. Little has performed the role more than 2,200 times across the globe and is one of the only four men who have played the role of The Phantom over 2000 performances. He still shines in the role and put on a moving performance on the opening night.

Whether you are a regular theatre/musical goer or a newbie, The Phantom Of The Opera is a must-see experience. Do not wait another five years or more for it to return to our shores again!

Tickets are now on sale and cost from S$55 to S$230, excluding the booking fee of S$3 per ticket. You can book online at http://www.baseentertainmentasia.com or http://www.marinabaysands.com/Ticketing, by phone at +65 6688 8826 or head down to get in person at the Marina Bay Sands Box Offices.

GLASS ANATOMY – The Musical 《搭错车》

Last Friday (3 May), I attended the media preview of GLASS ANATOMY – The Musical 《搭错车》. The show is produced by local theatre company, Toy Factory and omy.sg is the official online partner:

China-born Taiwanese singer, Della Ding Dang (丁当) plays the lead role and sung many of the main songs in this musical. She is known for her singing skills and powerful vocal. I was so impressed with her singing that I went to a CD shop the next day and bought one of her CD and the OST for GLASS ANATOMY. Mind you, I have not visited a CD store for more than a year!

The storyline is adapted from a famous 1983 Taiwanese tearjerker musical film of the same name, 《搭错车》 (Papa, Can You Hear Me Sing), directed by Yu Kanping (虞戡平), starring Sun Yueh (孫越) and Linda Liu (劉瑞琪).This film was released 8 times in Taiwan and 11 times in Hong Kong and won 4 Golden Horse Awards.The theme song “Any Empty Wine Bottles For Sale” 《酒干倘卖无》 by Su Rui (苏芮) is a Chinese pop classic and is of course, featured in this musical.

I did not watch the original film, but am interested to catch it after attending the musical. It is available for viewing here:

SYNOPSIS

什么时候儿时的玩伴都离我远去? 什么时候家乡变得如此地拥挤?

漫渡了时代的变迁,岁月的磨炼,TOY 肥料厂呈献历经十二年构思的呕心创作《搭错车》。时费三年间搜罗来自中国、台湾、香港、泰国、阿根廷以及新加坡的知名艺术达人与设计师齐聚共同打造这部旷世经典。

《搭错车》改编自1983年轰动整个亚洲的原名台湾电影。此电影在第二十届金马奖中获得了11个奖项的提名,创下金马奖提名最高记录。剧中精髓来自由罗大佑、粱宏志、吴念真、陈志远、李寿全与侯德建创作,铁嗓歌手苏芮演唱的《酒干倘卖无》、《一样的月光》、《是否》和《请跟我来》等经典歌曲,绕粱多年,深入民心。

TOY肥料厂的《搭错车》将由华语音乐排行榜新天后丁当领衔主演,以她高昂嘹亮的歌艺,征服她的舞台音乐剧处女作。

哑叔,一个从小被遗弃靠捡破烂为生的哑巴,盼望幸福有一天降临。清晨陋巷的弃婴声,改变了他单调无依的日子。弃婴阿美长大成了拥有天籁般歌喉的美丽女子,与相依为命的哑叔,过着充满乐符的天伦生活。 阿美被唱片公司送上歌唱的星光道路。她与哑叔、情人、童年的玩伴、成长的小屋与简单的生活有了一片摸不着看不到的玻璃隔膜。当她在大舞台上发光发亮时,年老的父亲已在老旧的收音机旁,渐渐睡去…

Have you ever wondered where your childhood friends have gone? When has home turned so crowded and foreign?

Through these changing times and growing years, TOY FACTORY presents, . A masterpiece that has taken 12 years to produce and 3 years to gather the best creative talents and designers across China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Argentina and Singapore.

Adapted from the Taiwan movie, “Papa, can you hear me sing?”, that took the entire Asia by storm and set the record for the highest number of nominations ever received at the 20th Golden Horse Awards. The essence of the movie is created by vocal powerhouse – Su Rei’s numerous classic hits such as The Same Moonlight

Uncle Ya, a mute rag-and-bone man, is always hopeful for the day that happiness will arrive. His dull and lonely life takes a turn when he hears the cries of an abandoned baby in the alley one morning. Being showered with Uncle Ya’s fatherly love, the baby blossoms into a beautiful young lady, Ah Mei. Father and daughter live a simple yet blissful life. Gifted with the voice of an angel, Ah Mei is eventually discovered by a famous record company producer and shoots to stardom swiftly. While Ah Mei lives in her dream, a glass has unknowingly formed between her and the people she loves. Her beloved father, her lover, her best childhood friend, her hometown and the simple life she used to lead are slowly slipping away. As she shines on the glamorous stage, an ailing old man sitting next to the radio that is playing his daughter’s song is slowly passing on…

How did I find the musical?

Great!

Okay, the story is very predictable and comes across very cheesy at time, but it was  based on a movie written in simpler time for simpler audiences.

In any case, I am a sucker for cheesy love stories for they provide escapism into romanticised worlds.

Storyline aside, I think the casting of Della in the lead role is very appropriate, given her similar personal background and rise to fame in real life. At just 18 years old, Della left her home in Zhejiang province, China, to seek chances to be a singer by singing with bands in different bars in Taiwan.

It was delightful to hear Della belt out one classic after another. The other performers sung well too.

If you are interested to catch GLASS ANATOMY – The Musical 《搭错车》, it will be showing at Esplanade Theatres from 3 to 12 May 2013. Tickets can be purchased online via SISTIC. Details:

EVENT DATE
3-12 May 2013
Tues – Sun, 8.00pm
Sat & Sun, 3.00pm

DURATION
Approx 1 hr 50 mins (no interval)

VENUE
Esplanade Theatre

TICKET PRICE (EXCLUDE BOOKING FEE)
Standard – S$129, S$109, S$89, S$69
VIP Box – S$129
Box B – G – S$109
Restricted View – S$129, S$109, S$89, S$69

Please add to above price $3 Booking Fee per ticket for tickets above $20 and $1 Booking Fee per ticket for tickets $20 and below. Charges include GST where applicable.

The winners for the Shakespeare in the Park – Othello contest are…

Happy May Day everyone!

Here are the three winners for my Shakespeare in the Park – Othello Tickets Giveaway:

Congratulations to Tay Ya Yun, Khoo Jun Jie and Caren Foo. I will be contacting you via email soon on how to collect your tickets.

Superb turnout at the opening night
Superb turnout at the opening night

Rachel and I caught the opening night performance last Sunday. It was an interesting experience watching a Shakespeare play under the stars, sitting on a picnic mat while munching on food we brought along.

Shakespeare in the Park - Othello
Shakespeare in the Park – Othello

Othello will be showing from 24 Apr to 19 May 2013. More details on Othello and MasterCard offers can be found at the hyperlinks.

Edges – The Musical: 2 pairs of tickets to giveaway!

Edges - The Musical

Last Thursday, I just watched Edges – The Musical, directed by Derrick Chew and produced by Sight Lines Productions:

Edges is a contemporary musical about coming of age, hopes and dreams, love and yes, addiction to Facebook when it first started.

The musical follows a song-cycle concept that is new to the Singapore theatre scene. Edges is an original New York production by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and it features the famous song, Be My Friend, that has come to be commonly known as the ‘Facebook song’. It has been staged more than 100 times in North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa.

Being a social media addict, I had to watch it just to hear the cast sing the ‘Facebook song’:

Interesting?

The songs will resonate well with those born in the 80s and 90s as they tend to cover themes and growing up anguishes around that time period.

If you like musical and am interested to catch Edges, it is showing at Drama Centre Blackbox at the National Library Building from 3 – 19 April 2013. Tickets can be bought via Ticket Mash. 

I have 2 pairs of tickets to giveaway for 15 April (coming Mon), 8pm performance. If you are interested to catch Edges – The Musical, simple go LIKE my Facebook page @Alvinologist and drop me an email at alvinologist@gmail.com with your name, email, contact number and NRIC/Passport number by 14 April (this Sun), 4pm. The two winners will be selected via random draw and notified on the same day.

[Contest Result – 15 April 2013] Congratulations to Qin Liang and Caren Foo! Winners were picked via a random draw and will be notified by email. 

The Bride Always Knock Twice《她门》

Last Friday, Rachel and I attended the opening night performance of The Theatre Practice’s latest play, The Bride Always Knock Twice《她门》:

The Bridge Always Knocks Twice
The Bridge Always Knocks Twice

The attendees for the night featured many prominent figures in the Singapore Chinese cultural scene. My big boss, the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese Newspapers Division in Singapore Press Holdings, Mr Lim Jim Koon was there, so was Zaobao.com Editor/ Crossroads Editor, Dr. Zhou Zhao Cheng. I was pleasantly surprise to spot two Member of Parliament, Mr Low Thia Khiang and Mr Chen Show Mao with their respective spouses.

The play is an ambitious narrative about eight different women from different era in Singapore history, each seeking their own escapism. Interestingly, it is written by two men, playwrights Jonathan Lim and Liu Xiaoyi. The director, Kuo Jian Hong is female.

Synopsis:

A door that’s never locked. A mysterious location. Occupied by women from different generations and backgrounds – and their secrets. A runaway bride abruptly invades this space, kicking off a series of suspenseful moments, frolics, disputes and warmth.

Audiences will find this light-hearted black comedy to be hugely accessible, as the merriment of the show provides a setting to explore the issues of gender, history, society and more.

Main trailer:

Series of trailers on “Missing” females – Part 1 of 8:

To catch the other 7 parts, visit The Theatre Practice’s youtube channel. 

Men writing about women – risky, but I think they did a pretty good job. Many female audiences seem to enjoy the play, including my wife.

In fact, Rachel was shocked when I told her the play was written by two men.

I find the use of several different languages (Malay, Cantonese and Chinese) to reflect the multilingual Singapore society since historical times very refreshing. However, it can be a bit difficult to keep up with the subtitles, especially when a few characters use different languages at the same time.

The playwright weaved in some puns on the current tension between born-in-Singapore Singaporeans versus the “new citizens” and “new immigrants”. What makes a person a Singaporean? There is the white collar office worker who immigrated from Hong Kong to Singapore before 1997 who consider herself an “old citizen” while criticising another woman from mainland China who only came here recently with a student permit. Are they that different? What is old and what is new?

I like the concept and setting of the whole play. Put eight vastly different women from different era into a confined room and they are forced to interact. This is bound to bring out tensions and coax out the life story of each character, one at a time. Brilliant. This keeps the audience in constant suspense, expecting to find out more about each character as the play moves along.

A white collar worker, a sultan's concubine, a bride, a masseur, a nun, an actress, a samsui woman and a policewomen - how diverse!
A white collar worker, a sultan’s concubine, a bride, a masseur, a nun, an actress, a samsui woman and a policewomen – how diverse!

Overall, Rachel enjoyed the play much more than me. I was probably trying to read too much into the escapism narrative, trying to find some deeper symbolism while she is able to take the storyline at face value. At times, I feel the liberal use of caricatures for entertainment sacrificed much precious screen time which could have been used to bring out more depth to each character.

At the end of the play, I left the theatre wanting to know more about each character, beyond what was revealed in the play. Then again, this could a deliberate ploy by the playwrights…

The Bride Always Knock Twice is now showing at the Drama Centre Theatre till 6 April 2013. More information is available at The Theatre Practice’s official website. To purchase tickets online, visit SISTIC. Go catch it! 🙂