Thursday, August 22, 2013

Italy has no Churches ... my review of Chestnuts 6.9

As many of you already know, I am a super big fan of Chestnuts. So after a 18 month hiatus, Chestnuts is BACK !!!!!!!!!!!!! 16th August came .. and that was my first viewing of Chestnuts 6.9. I watched it again with my friends on the 18th evening as well. I usually watch Chestnuts on opening night knowing that there will be some jitters amongst the actors as well as other technical issues. This is because this is when Jonathan usually bares all (not literally). After 2-3 shows, he will start trimming and making changes to the skits to make the show a lot better. Which explains why I watch it a second time. Ok enough about me .. more about the show …

There were at least 15 “segments” throughout the show. This is excluding all the minor video skits which serve as fillers while the actors do their costume changes and the production team does set changes. The show starts out with a song about what has been happening in Singapore since the last Chestnuts show. Jon’s witty lines could be seen as the cast sing about the recent sex scandals, money scandals, political scandals, Hello Kitty queues amongst other things. The lyrics were full of intended puns and innuendoes .. however it was quite hard to pick them up as they were sung very quickly. It was easier when reading the “subtitles” at the sides and there were video / photos on the backdrop of the specific subject. However it was difficult to try and view everything together. This made that skit lose its impact.

This was followed by a short video introduction of the guest actor… Tim. Scattered throughout the show, there were many short video clips of Tim serving National Service and how he took many of our local “lingo” literally.

The show then started on the main “Les Miserables” theme. The lyrics of popular Les Mis songs were given the Jon Lim treatment with a “skewed” undertone ending with a very passionate kiss !!! We were then treated to a local scene at a local toy shop. Other notable skit during the first half was the Phantom/Jersey Boys/Wicked/Addams Family musical skit. This was fairly entertaining though it could be seen that as much as the crowd liked the singing and the music, they were a bit lost with the Addams Family bit.

Theatre in 10 this year covered La Cage, Spring Awakenings, Romeo and Juilet, Othello, High Class, Army Daze and Cook a Pot of Curry amongst other local theatre productions. I felt that it was generally a bit ‘touch and go.’ There were bits which were genuinely funny but there were some which were downright “huh??? What was that about…”

First half ended with a skit showing the singing prowess of the main 4 actors. They were randomly given “Les Mis” parts to sing .. and were required to re-enact the Act 1 Finale of Les Mis. That means that each actor had to learn ALL 8 .. YES EIGHT parts and be able to sing it well and blend it well with each other. It was done well and deserved a standing ovation. The first time ... Judee Tan got Javert and Valjean which would have been super tough. In my second viewing, Jon got Cosette and Mdm Thenardier which was hilarious.

The second half of the show started with Jon’s parody of Ah Boys to Men. This was followed by the continuation of the Les Mis arc. This time it was Les Mis meets Wolverine. Tim played the role of Wolverine well. His body statute and size seemed to fit nicely into that role. However, I personally felt that this whole segment was very draggy. There were sub-parts which were unnecessary and though the concept may have been good .. the execution was in my opinion poor. It was not the acting or the singing which was bad but just something wasn’t right. The Judee Tan ‘body morphing’ was a very original idea but I felt a bit irrelevant.

The highlight of the night was the irresistible Judee Tan as Ivory Low in the Pondan News Network segment. Somehow without Rodney, it was a bit different (one of my friends was extremely disappointed that Rodney was not in it .. yeah you JACQ!!!) but I felt Dwayne did well replacing Rodney. Hopefully Rodney comes back from his Brazil trip soon. The Water Wally bit had me in stitches for the longest time … the Amy Chia bit was amusing but when Ivory came on … all in the audience were gasping for air after laughing so much and loud !!! Shingz to u all ... Judee is quickly growing into the new queen of comedy albeit from the Ah-Lian perspective. And what did she say to the rude old Auntie???

The show ended (2.5 hours later) with the re-make of “Do you hear the people Sing” with lyrics focussed on the 6.9m White paper issue.

Since my second viewing, I have read many reviews of Chestnuts 6.9. Many of the reviews gave it the thumbs up because of the wit of Jon in the lines and the difficulty in putting together so many singing roles and skits amongst such a small cast. To me, this is the minimum in expectation from any Chestnuts production.

On a whole, as per previous Chestnuts … there were segments and skits which connected and some which didn’t. The reason why some connect is because of the familiarity with the content and the context of the segment. Another reason why is that they are just downright funny and honest (Ivory Low). To me, after watching the last 3 Chestnuts productions, I was quite disappointed with Chestnuts 6.9. It was entertaining at times, it was funny at times but it was mediocre most times. There seems to be something lacking this edition which I cannot put my finger on. Eventhough 2.5 hours is good value for money, I felt that easily an hour of that was below the high expectation I have seen of Jon’s direction and writing. The humour here was more slapstick and less witty. I have mentioned many times in my previous posts that this kind of slapstick humour is what the Singapore public enjoys but we must be careful and stick to our roots and reserve the slapstick-ah-beng-dialect-in your face humour to the likes of the Hossan Show, Broadway Beng and Kumar. Don’t get me wrong. I am not atas. I love such bawdy, obvious humour which I get from watching Hossan and Sebastian on stage. However, I expect different from Jon. More sharp jibes about  the local scene …. about the haze and PSI… about the Hello Kitty queues … something about Gangnam style … about the immigration issues rather than Les Miserables. What is the overall theme of Chestnuts 6.9? Why 6.9 when that was only discussed about in the last 15 minutes of the show?

I think this review is Chestnuts 6.9’s first semi-negative review so far. No matter what, I still encourage all Chestnuts virgins to go watch the show. I also encourage all readers to please comment on this blog and tell me what are your thoughts about Chestnuts 6.9. Very much appreciated … Shingz to you Jonathan Lim ….

Monday, August 5, 2013

Le Mis + Wolverine + 6.9 + Jon Lim = Chestnuts 6.9 : the Less Miserable White Paper Preview !!!

The last time there was a Chestnuts show was January 2012. It has been almost been 18-19 months since then. No Chestnuts. I have been pestering the producer .. when is the next Chestnuts?? When when when??? The response I got was usually .. Not so soon la .. or Not enough material to hold a meaty show. So we waited and waited … IT HAS FINALLY ARRIVED … a brand-new Chestnuts .. complete with all new content (this was what I was promised). The last Chestnuts show was Chestnuts 15 … this one is Chestnuts 6.9 : the Less Miserable White Paper. I guess most of us would know what the number 6.9 means !!! At least those of us in Singapore would.

As expected from the penmanship of Mr Jonathan Lim … the show promises new mash-ups, bash-ups and an evening full of ‘roll-on-the-floor’ laughter. From what I have read in Jon’s rehearsal notes, there is going to be singing (le Mis + Jonathan style) .. there is some physical stuff with barriers .. there is going to be parts about the latest Wolverine movie (so advice is to quickly catch the movie before you watch Chestnuts)… and MORE. You can view videos of their past “works” at their facebook page ( ). You can also read my preview / review of their last show somewhere on this blog.

Why change something when it ain’t broken right? So the original cast are back minus Rodney plus a ‘special guest.’ Both Judy and Judee, Dwayne and of cos Jon will be acting / singing / dancing. The venue for this edition of Chestnuts will be at the Drama Centre Theatre from the 16th – 25th August. There will be no shows on Monday and Tuesday (hey 5 actors – 3 hours .. need to rest leh!!). You can find out more details from again from the FB page and you can grab your tickets from Sistic.

If anything .. Chestnuts is one of the funniest shows put together in Singapore. It is no slapstick ha-ha comedy .. but witty lines and super good/accurate parodies translated to Singapore context. So if you need a night or more of laughter to get away from the 6.9million people .. there is no better place than to catch Chestnuts !!! Anyone fancy more nuts???

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Beauty of Melancholy ... My review of "Melancholy Play" presented by Couch Theatre

To start off, let me ask you this question … who do you find more attractive and fall in love with :

·         Someone who sighs wistfully, looks out of the window, has a facial expression like a forlorn puppy, always seems to vulnerable and just on the edge of depression … or

·         Someone who is running around screaming in joy, growing happier daily, perpetually grinning and singing and humming a merry tune and just on the edge of insanity …

For me, I would prefer the former. Why? I guess I want to provide for the person and care for the person and seem like I am “protecting” the person. What more can I do for a really happy person?

This is what I got from watching “Melancholy Play” by Sarah Ruhl. I caught this on Friday evening at the Drama Centre BlackBox at the National Library. This play was presented by Couch Theatre. The theme of the play is the feeling of “Melancholia” and how someone who is melancholy can have such an effect on others feelings and emotions. When the melancholia goes away .. the feelings change. The play also showed me the beauty of being melancholy and why it isn’t such a bad thing after all.

I have never read this play, or neither did I do any deep research into it prior to attending the play / writing my preview several weeks ago. All I knew was that this play was about “Being Melancholy” and something about an “almond.” But I got so much deeper meaning from watching the play. I guess this was only because the direction and the cast was excellent.

It is extremely refreshing and joyous to see a cast of actors and actresses whom I have never seen before. This is because then everything starts from a clean slate .. no expectations, no “previous” roles kind of baggage in my mind. Couch Theatre was formed by a group of students .. young ‘tweenagers’ who have a strong passion for the theatres. I has the chance to speak to the director and the production manager after the show and I was very impressed by the aims and aspirations of Couch Theatre. Currently, they are planning 2 productions a year with an aim of 4 yearly in the future. They also want to move away from the mainstream ha-ha-ha kind of play (which I personally think we have too much of) and more into something more engaging and thoughtful. I truly support their aims !!!

The acting was above par. Considering that the main cast of 6 persons have never had any prior professional training, their acting is above par to that of some of the so-called “professional actors” here in Singapore. The one person who stood out for me was Ms Cheryl Foo who played the main role of “Tilly.” The transition between the mournful melancholy Tilly to the slightly crazed, wild-eyed Tilly was seamless and looked effortless on her part. Her facial expressions were spot on.. delivery of her lines were clear and timing was excellent. Cheryl had a very polished and confident performance with a strong stage presence.  Cheryl will go far if she wishes to continue in theatre. I can see her being the new Emma Yong (just needs to improve her singing)… and I say that honestly !!! I haven’t seen such a bright and great talent since I saw Erwin Shah.

The acting of the two main male roles played by Ziyad and Shien Hian were of a high standard. Again they were confident actors, had good poise, spoke strong and well (though for Shien Hian, sometimes the accent resulted in words being mumbled), had the right expressions and most important did not ‘overact.’ My pet peeve is with actors and actresses who overact. A good actor / actress acts with just the right amount of emotion in their poise, stance, tone and expression.

For the remaining two female roles, Rei-En and Selene did a good job. However, their roles were too small to make a very long lasting impression as compared to the role of Tilly. Also their roles were rather one-dimensional so I am unable to see the depth in their acting.

If I had anything to complain about, it would be for two small things. Firstly, the singing. It is quite clear that none of the cast (except for Adrian, the cellist) had much or any singing background. The singing was not exactly well blended amongst the 5 voices and the cello. It was rather jarring at certain points. However, I thought this somehow fitted into this “melancholy” theme. When we are happy, we hear music with happy, strong melodies of a Major chord. When we are sad and down, we tend to enjoy music which is more of the disjointed and of a Minor chord. Next is the follow-on spotlighting. But there were a few times when I felt that the spot lighting was not spot-on (pun intended). I know this is a very small issue but it does have an effect on the overall performance.

Overall, I really enjoyed myself at “Melancholy Play,” and I would really like to thank Jasmine for the invite and the great seat. The Drama Centre BlackBox is a great venue because it gives a very intimate and cosy feeling to the audience. It also gives the chance for the audience to view the cast close-up. I was seated between family of one of the cast members. I spoke to the father and was glad to hear that he encouraged and supported his daughter to do this. The whole family seemed to be enjoying themselves and must have been very proud to see their daughter in action (I am not sure if it was Cheryl, Rei-En or Selene). These days parents are too busy telling their children that they should be a professional so that can earn lots of money blah blah blah. Again I hope to see more of Couch Theatre’s future productions and I wish them all the best on fulfilling their aims and aspirations. If their future productions are going to be like this production of “Melancholy Play,” I will proudly be a supporter. Keep up the hard work !!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Could have been better .. Review of Phantom of the Opera (Singapore 2013)

I watched Phantom of the Opera in Singapore on 20th July 2013 at 2pm at the Marina Bay Sands Mastercard Theatre. This musical first debuted in 1986 and is still showing in London. It has been viewed by at least 150 million people all over the world.

I know of many people who have seen Phantom of the Opera several times, either on Broadway or in London’s West End or in the countless of re-productions in Australia, Singapore, Japan and many other countries in the world. Countless of people have also bought and listened to the CD recordings of this musical by the original cast of Michael Crawford (Phantom), Sarah Brightman (Christine) and Steve Barton (Raoul). I for one have seen Phantom of the Opera in London (not the original cast) in 2002 and more than 10 years later .. I watched it again in Singapore.

Somehow, I wasn’t as overwhelmed by the recent viewing as compared to watching it the first time. Why? Firstly, I felt that the singing was not as good. There were many parts where I could hardly hear the singing (this may be due to the bad acoustics at the MBS Theatre) … but there were parts where I could hear .. but the words were either being mumbled or just mashed up with the orchestra. I have listened to the original cast CD ( fact I own two copies) .. many times since I got it in 1986 as a present from my sister. I know it is unfair to compare the CD to the performance as the CD may be a studio recording as compared to a live performance. However, I can’t help but feel that the singing can be better .. clearer and brighter. The acting was good by the 3 leading cast members (Phantom, Christine and Raoul). The supporting cast members did their part well but yet again when it was time to sing, I found it quite lacking. Again it is rather unfair as the singing I am accustomed to is off the Phantom CD.

The stage / backdrops and effects were very good though I wished the chandelier could have come crashing a lot faster.

As Phantom of the Opera is a musical, the orchestra plays a very big part of the entire production. The orchestra was not too bad except for some parts where I felt that the tempo was going “Allegro” rather than “Adagio.” This was highly apparent during their performance of “All I Ask of You.” Again this is when compared to what I am more familiar with.

Overall, it was a satisfactory performance but to be brutally honest, not a ‘standing ovation’ kind of performance. For first-timers to Phantom of the Opera, this production would be a good one … but for Phantom of the Opera “veterans,” the differences are too wide to go unnoticed.

Milestone reached ... 10,000 views !!! Thanks guys !!!

10,000 views !!!! Wow wow wow … I cannot believe that my blog will actually hit 10,000 views since my first post on 5th December 2011. Thank you all for reading my reviews and previews. I shall strive to work harder on this blog. My next milestone … 20,000 views !!! J

Monday, July 15, 2013

Please Tie Me Up !! My review of Michael Chiang's High Class.

Review of Michael Chiang’s High Class by The Presenting Company

I was rather disappointed with “High Class.” Why? I had bought a pair of Stall Tickets but then just before the show, there were some Circle Ticket holders being upgraded to Stall seats. I guess the matinee show … second last day of the run … tickets were not selling well. But then … grr … never ever happened to any other shows I have been to .. matinee or not .. even on last day !!! (Just a small irritation). What irked me more was that maybe I was unlucky to attend the show when they were two alternates. Both Elizabeth Lazan and Siti Khalijah were replaced. All through my blog you can see how much I like Siti’s acting .. and she was one of the main reasons I bought tix to High Class .. but little did I know … strike Toto also not so lucky. I think they should put up on the Sistic website when the members of the cast are going to be not acting then the audience will buy tickets on the dates accordingly. All these left a bad taste in my mouth as the show started.

Now .. onto the show. It was a single set show … with the ingenious use of a rotating “stage” on the stage. This “stage” was used as a bedroom, “stage” and also a seating area in Sentosa Cove. The storyline to High Class is a very simple one .. 5 girls wrongly selected to be groomed to be Tai-tais in a new reality TV show. The show is to be hosted by an obscenely rich former Tai-tai. The show was sabotaged by her ex and new lover .. which goes all wrong and bites the new lover … ex realises .. dumps new lover .. suddenly many suitors turn up for the Tai-tai. What about the 5 contestants? They all decide which millionaire they want to marry after being groomed. Anyone expecting a twist to the end or more depth would be disappointed. I feel that this play is more suited for an audience seeking to enjoy 2 hours of slapstick laughter. The jokes were mainly based on the “actions” and “accents” of the 5 contestants rather than witty lines. The first half of the show was pretty slow and thin .. the second half of the show was slightly better.

To me, there were two things which kept the show above water. Firstly was Nikki Muller .. 2nd was the music.  High Class had a cast of more than 10 members. The 5 contestants were just average with Audrey Luo providing some laughs as Ye Feng. I have seen Mina Kaye do better in other shows and Serene Ho was just downright over-acting ! As for Gloria Tan who played the role of Azizah, she was trying so hard to be Siti Khalijah. I could just picture Siti fitting into the role so naturally and I bet the lines and acting were based on Siti’s strengths.  Sorry Gloria, no offence but there is only ONE Siti Khalijah. I can also assume that Elizabeth would have been a better fit for the role of Sunita. As for all the other cast members, they were there, did their stuff but nothing really memorable. Nikki Muller … this is the first time she has gone on stage.. but SHE WAS GOOD. Her stage presence was strong and her singing, wonderful. Her acting and singing really blew everyone else out of the water. Not only was she head and shoulders over the others (literally .. she is tall!!) but the others were not even on the same planet !!! You could really picture her as this ex-tai tai .. with her poise and elegance. When she sang, it was with heartfelt emotions and confidence. She looked like she had been doing this for years !!

The music for High Class was arranged and composed by Mr Don Richmond (who so happens to be my ex-classmate in SJI). The tunes were catchy and fitting. The ‘tai tai me up’ song is still playing in my head and the ‘end of school’ number was rather Grease-esque.

As High Class’s run ended yesterday, this review will not serve much but solely MY opinion of the show.  High Class, to me is not a show I will watch more than once (unless I want to see Nikki Muller again) … I was honestly quite tempted to leave halfway … but then thankfully, I stayed on … it was enjoyable (towards the end) and quite ok. I guess my earlier grouses (see first paragraph) kinda tainted my experience. But isn’t that theatre … a culmination of all the senses into a wonderful experience? Sorry not here …

Monday, July 8, 2013

Do we HAVE a National Costume? ... my review on Wild R!ce's Cook a Pot Of Curry (Gala Nite!!)

Photo credits to Wild R!ce
Poignant, funny, thought provoking, melancholy, real, crude, melodic, serious, patriotic, sad, daring, REALity … these are some of the words which pop up in my mind when I am trying to describe Wild Rice’s “Cook a Pot of Curry (CPC).” It is all those and more wrapped up in many, many small little segments on a simple but effective stage. In CPC the focus was on the message … and not the petty distractions. The message was clear .. the acting was good ... the words used .. excellent. I must really comment Alfian Sa’at for his literary genius which gave us CPC. It is so real and yet he puts it across so clearly but yet hits you hard. He is able to think beyond the layers and show us the truth. As each segment ended, I found myself nodding in agreement to the message and how we must do something .. or understand ourselves better.

I caught CPC on Saturday night. Thanks to H for the wonderful tickets on Gala Opening Nite.  The guests were required to dress in “National Costume” … hardly anyone did !! When I got into the auditorium, I was facing this 3D-esque stage with cubes and lit only in white.  The play started out with the re-enactment of the scene between the Chinese and the Indian couple about the now notorious Pot of Curry !! .. after that the action came thick and fast … segment after segment. Each segment was couple of minutes long, having someone talk about the biggest issue which we face in Singapore today – new migrants / PRs . There were people from both sides of the divide in terms of nationality and social class. PRs, new citizens, Indonesians, domestic workers, taxi drivers (the best segment), yoga instructor, actress, Indians, Malays and more all had their few minutes. All acted out by the 6 actors and actresses.

Photo credits to Wild R!ce

The acting was good. The actors generally played their roles well … considering that each actor had many varied roles to play – varied Nationalities, race and profession. However, the one actor that stood out for me was Najib Soiman. I felt that he had that added oomph in his acting and he delivered his lines with conviction – like he believed in them. But maybe it was just that I could connect better with his segments.  However some of the accents were a bit lacking, especially the Phillipino one. It was not exactly there. Also, the facial expressions were also not very strong at certain segments. I am just nit-picking but I feel that the actors must really show that they belief in their message.

Directing was by Glen Goei so we know what to expect. Like I mentioned earlier, the key was the message. Glen made use of the simple set and just played with lighting to maintain the audience’s focus on the actors. Effective use of slides gave the stage some color and broke the monotony. I think the timing of the lighting and slide transitions were excellent.

Overall, Cook a Pot of Curry is a great way to kickstart the Alfian Sa’at “festival” as it shows the how brilliant this man is. CPC is a must see for all. Do not expect a typical play by Wild Rice. It has no real storyline where there is a plot with ups and downs followed by a happy ending. Do not expect tons of wild laughter … as this is no story .. this is reality!! We have always been fooled by the ‘story’ … read to us many, many times in school and through campaigns and policies … when are we going to realise that we must challenge the ‘story’. Let Cook a Pot of Curry touch your patriotic soul as it has for me .. when the laughter has ended .. we have to face reality.  Majulah Singapura.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Preview : Everything But the Brain by Jean Tay .... presented by Sight Lines Productions

Cover Photo
It has barely been 2 months since Edges the Musical (early April 2013) and they are already advertising their next show, “Jean Tay’s Everything But the Brain.”  or EBtB for short. This play was first staged in 2005 and again in 2007, each time to sold out runs. However, 2012 is the Sight Lines version of EBtB. It also garnered two awards in the 2006 ST Life! Theatre awards for Best Original Script and Best Actor – Gerald Chew. GUESS WHAT … Gerald will be back .. reprising his role in the 2012 edition as well !! Woo Hoo !!

Sight Lines’s dynamic duo of Derrick and Engie will be directing and producing EBtB respectively. The cast of the show seems like a good mix of veteran actors in Gerald, Koh Wan Ching and Edward Choy. I last saw Gerald Chew in 2012’s W!ld Rice production of Romeo and Juliet. The young actors are Faizal Abdullah, Amanda Tee (last saw her in Boom … pls read my review of Boom for more information) and Cassandra Spykerman (related to Rebecca and Kimberly Spykerman). I love to see mix of veteran and young actors together. The balanced, steadiness of the veterans together with the exuberant, eagerness of the young stars always provide for good viewing.

“My brain tells me it will be better to just let him go. My heart... not so much.”
Author Unknown

It was about one year ago that I caught Jean Tay’s Boom also presented by Sight Lines. I can still remember the stage set for Boom and being completely in awe of it. However, what I remembered the most was the storytelling. The way the message was delivered to the audience. Boom was a relatively serious play (it had its funny moments) with a very powerful message .. about home and family and clinging to the past. From what I read in the EBtB synopsis, I can tell that there is a powerful lesson within which we have to face and learn. Under Derrick and Engie, I am pretty sure there will be plenty of light moments to keep the audience ‘awake.’ As I have always said, Sight Lines is a production house which focuses on the minor details which make the whole play and experience for the senses. You not only see and hear the actors, but you can feel the atmosphere via clever and non-distracting stage sets, excellent sounds and effect. All may seem minor but they bring enable the audience to better experience the play rather than just be present at a “play reading” session with some acting in between.

Again guys .. if you missed Boom last year… make sure you do not miss Eveything But the Brain. If you have watched anything produced by Sight Lines … you will know the high quality production that you will be getting … for those who are Sight Lines ‘Virgins’ .. you must catch this to see what they are capable of. Great work Engie and Derrick !! Keep it up and All the Best !! Stay tuned for my review ….

Dates & Timings: 10 – 11 August 2013, 16 – 21 August 2013

 No show on Mon

Tues – Fri: 8pm

Sat & Sun: 3pm & 8pm

Venue: DBS Arts Centre, Home of SRT

Ticket Prices: $35 - $55

Prices exclude $3 SISTIC handling fee

Ticketing Details: SISTIC

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Akan Datang : Alfian Sa'at's Cook a Pot of Curry .. presented by W!ld Rice

Cover Photo
Everyone one of us has some prejudice inside us, but only the strong and respectful care to hide it.’
Author unknown

PRCs, NRIs, Ah Tiongs, Pinoys, Cina Kwee, White Trash … these are all terms commonly used in Singapore to describe a person based on their race or nationality. They are all derogatory in their own way. A local Chinese will comment about how the China Chinese talk “so loudly and are so rude.” A local Indian will comment about how the India Indian “act as though they are white and atas.” How many times have you heard your friends saying something similar?

With more and more immigrants in the country, the locals are getting more and more testy and irritated by the immigrants actions. The number of PRs being given out is being scrutinised.  The number of work permits, S passes and Employment passes are being questioned. There is also a growing fear of “foreign enclaves” within Singapore. The Indians have Serangoon, the Philipinos have Lucky Plaza, the Burmese have Peninsula Plaza and the Thais have Golden Mile.

Some of these unhappiness have erupted into very public spats such as the “Jollybee” boycott. To make matters worse, some have become from discriminating based on nationality to being borderline racists. The internet is rife with many such comments (just look at the ST Forum) and Facebook posts. A classic example would be Amy Cheong and her Malay wedding comment. Another ‘event’ which received quite some media attention was the need for mediation between two neighbours of different ethnicities and their makan habits. All over the cooking of curry, which brings us to W!ld Rice’s world premier of Alfian Sa’at’s Cook a Pot of Curry.

Cook a Pot of Curry is written by Alfian Sa’at and directed by Glen Goei. It features a six-member cast including the evergreen Neo Swee Lin, Rishi Budhrani and the red-hot Judee Tan. It is a play about the issues faced by both the locals and the foreign immigrants and their living together in this ‘little red dot.’ From what I understand, the play will be based on numerous interviews with Singaporeans, new PR holders and the foreign talents. It seeks to highlight the problems faced by all parties but are unable to express.

Alfian Sa’at needs no introduction. He is one of Singapore’s brightest playwrights with his plays receiving both local and international awards. His plays are also frequently used by Literature students in secondary schools and junior colleges here. He has a knack for telling a story which is so true to home (pun intended) in a way which we can all laugh about.

As this is presented by W!ld Rice, we can be sure that the audience will be treated to a sensory treat.

All I can say is … come catch ‘Cook a Pot of Curry’ and I am sure you will not regret it. Of course I will be there and will provide my review after. Until then, would anyone like some curry …???


Director : Glen Goei

Set Design : Wong Chee Wai

Producer : Tony Trickett

Cast : Rishi Budhrani, Nelson Chia, Noorlinah Mohamed, Neo Swee Lin, Najib Soiman, Judee Tan

Venue : The Singapore Airlines Theatre, LASALLE College of the Arts

Show Dates : 3 – 20 July 2013

Ticket Prices : Previews at 8pm on 3 & 5 July: $40, $50

Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun at 8pm & Sat, Sun at 3pm: $45, $55

Fri & Sat at 8pm: $50, $60

(Prices exclude $3 SISTIC handling fee)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Akan Datang : Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl ... presented by Couch Theatre

A few weeks ago, I was asked whether I could do an upcoming preview for a new production by a new theatre company, “Couch Theatre.” The play that they are staging is called "Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl." I gladly agreed (always open and willing to helping fledging theatre companies in any way I can) and also will do a review of the play after.

To be honest, I have never heard of “Melancholy Play” or either of “Sarah Ruhl.” So I did some research (via Wikipedia & FaceBook) to find out more as well as about Couch Theatre.  Couch Theatre in their FB page describe themselves as  an upbeat and offbeat theatre company made up of young adults brought together by their enduring fervour for the arts.’ Their aim is to ‘create theatre that brings an enriching emotional experience to a wider audience, giving the common Singaporean <like me> a reason to fall in love with the theatre..' Wow .. a very ambitious aim considering that the latest survey states that Singaporeans are generally very emotion-less. I personally feel that it is not that Singaporeans have no emotions .. it is just that they do not show it as much as others. I often see how angry they are when they miss the sale … or can feel and hear their frustration / anger when someone cuts into their lane on the road. The problem is that we cannot show emotions of happiness and joy in public or else people will say we are “siao lang.” I was once happily shuffling my feet to “Sorry, Sorry” in the MRT and people were staring at me like I should check myself into Woodbridge. That made me more self-conscious and more restrained. However, I must applaud Couch Theatre for their efforts and I hope they are successful. I will do what I can to help them out.
Which brings me to the production itself. What is meant by “melancholy?” When the word melancholy is mentioned .. what frequently comes to mind? A feeling of sadness? Dread? Depression? Sympathy? A ho-hum kind of feeling. From what I understand, Melancholy play is about how the feeling of “melancholy” can be interpreted in various forms and how it may not be such a bad feeling after all. It also aims to portray why some people choose to be melancholy as opposed to bring all bright and silly. In this I think that Couch Theatre made the right decision in choosing to stage this play in Singapore. I think the feeling of Melancholy is very much prevalent in Singapore society. Worries and depression about the high rising costs of living, about childrens’ education, about not being able to find a job, about getting the best grades in school and about being able to get the complete Hello Kitty set in McDonalds. We are wired to be pessimistic .. to look for the half empty glass. With this play, the audience should be able to connect with the theme and be able to feel the same way as the actors. Why am I so emo? Is this feeling of emo something I am comfortable with? Can I get out of it? Do I want to get out of it? How to people around me see me / feel when I am emo? I hope this will all be acted out. It is now all down to the actors …

So please support Melancholy Play by Couch Theatre. The tickets are very reasonable at $25/ticket. You can get more details at       As they are new, this is a very limited run of only 4 shows so please get your tickets early. If you are tired of the typical ha-ha, dialect, slapstick theatre then maybe “Melancholy Play” is for you. Yeah I know currently life is depressing enough … but maybe after watching this .. Singaporeans may be more emo ?? Better than emo-less, Ho Hum..  Stay tuned for my review ….

Monday, June 3, 2013

Brief sabatical .... watever that means ...

Hi all Ladies and Gentlemen … Boys and Girls … young and all … blah blah blah ….

It has been more than 6 months since my last post. I have been pondering closing down this blog due to work commitments. These work commitments has resulted in me having to spend quite a bit of time abroad and so unable to catch any shows / plays / musicals in Singapore. However as luck may have it … the issue has kinda been resolved and my travelling schedule has been reduced so WOO HOOooooo … all out Singapore theatre for the rest of 2013!!! I will watch everything I can for the remaining 7 months of the year to make up for missing out from January to May 2013!!

So please stay tuned … previews and reviews coming up soon …. Love you guys !!!