Friday, August 28, 2015

Coming Soon : The Effect by Lucy Prebble ... presented by Couch Theatre ... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Couch Theatre emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to do a preview and review post for their upcoming production and I immediately replied YES OF COS I WOULD !!

The last production from Couch Theatre I caught was the Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl and they did a marvelous job. As some of you may know, I have been rather dismayed by some of the local productions which I caught over the past 18 months. It has been so bad that I did not even bother to write a review for them. However, deep inside me, I know Couch Theatre will not disappoint.

I watch Melancholy Play about 2 years ago and the production blew me away. The actors were superb was the direction was nothing short of excellent. You can see my review of Melancholy Play here (

Couch Theatre is again taking on a very bold and ambitious project in The Effect. As I have never seen this before, all the information I have about was given to me via Couch Theatre and from the SISTIC sypnosis. The setting of the play is in the context of a drug trial where two people meet and fall in love. However, questions are raised as whether is this 'true love' or a side-effect of the drugs. Couch Theatre wants the audience to ponder and reflect as to who and what we are? Just physical body-parts put together? What are memories? Where do they come from? What are feelings and emotions? How are they developed and shaped?

WoW very deep stuff !!! I enjoy watching such plays because it really makes you think. This is more than just 2 hours of ha-ha-ha / singing  but it makes you wonder .. makes you experience the raw emotions which makes us human. You leave the venue feeling like some lightbulb is coming to life in your head and you go like "Ohhhhhhh..."

Based on the SISTIC website, this is a 2.5 hours play and will be at the Drama Centre Black Box. Knowing Couch Theatre and the venue, the main focus will be on the acting and not elaborate sets or loud distracting music. It is a cosy venue where the acting will need to be at its best as the audience is just sitting barely 2 metres from the set. Every facial expression, every intonation in the lines and every slight body movement will be seen up front. If anyone can pull this off well, I am very sure Couch Theatre can.

In my previous previews I hardly recommend a production as strongly as I am recommending this one. For all of you who want something different from the rah rah which our local production houses have been churning out (sadly disappointing), go catch The Effect. It is priced very reasonably and there are only 8 shows and not to mention limited seats due to the venue. Go get your tickets now at

In the meantime .. think about this .. "How are you feeling now and Why?"

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Coming Soon ....A play titled ' 8 - 5 ' ... a fundraiser for the Woodbridge Hospital Charity Fund

8 – 5’ … 2 numbers, separated by a dash.

8 – 5’ …  visions of a white round clock .. up on the wall … ticking continuously … never stopping. That is our life … never stopping .. so much of a routine.

8 – 5’ … the hours we spend at work .. some people call it the lifeless hours .. trudging through our jobs …

8 – 5’ … full of energy at 8 … drained of energy at 5 … our natural aging process

So what does ‘8 – 5’ mean to you ? …


.. all net ticket sales proceeds will go to the Woodbridge Hospital Charity Fund. The cast, crew, production team are all staff, volunteers, and patients from the Institute of Mental Health. You can get your tickets at or you can contact Ms Ng Sijia at is only a limited run of 4 shows over 1 weekend (29th & 30th August 2015) so try to catch it if you can. Click poster for more information.

I will post more information on this place over the next few weeks. Trying to get a chance to interview the cast and director as well as get a sneek peek ... Stay Tuned !!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

.. Watching soon ... W!ld Rice's Public Enemy !!

I just bought tickets for W!ld Rice’s Public Enemy 22/4/15, 8pm show. This is showing from 9th April to 25th April at the Victoria Theatre.

Big name stars .. Kay Siu and Ivan HengDependable director ... Glenn GoeiBig name production company … W!ld Rice … should be good right? I really hope so .. ! The supporting cast looks pretty good too !!

Sorry I am not doing a detailed preview of this. Have been busy so didn't have time to do so. Surely I will do a review of it !!! Stay tuned !!

Have a Great Day folks !!!

If any of the W!ld Rice guys want to meet up after the Ishow to chat, drop me a line. Will be glad to give you my honest opinion. 

Standard of Singapore theatre ... comments please ...

I must admit that the last few local productions I caught were really disappointing. Big name stars .. big name production companies .. usually dependable writers … so much hype … BAD show.  Local theatre has sadly deteriorated to the funny shows which are not funny with actors who can't act and singers who can't sing. I find a lot more enjoyment from the smaller productions. Small budgets but full of emotions. They know they have a lot more to prove and the actors / actresses try their best to actually act. There is only so much that the big names can do with ticket sales. Read my review of Great World Cabaret to understand how a big name like Mark Lee could not even fill 30% of the venue on a Saturday evening !!!!

I was talking to a local theatre producer a few weeks ago and he also agrees that the standard of local theatre is declining … FAST. He suggested that someone should form a “theatre critic circle.”
 I may not be the best qualified to say this but then my opinion is that other reviewers are generally “very nice” and do not write negative reviews. They are always very politically correct .. and if a show is ‘bad’ .. no review is done. (I am guilty of this as well … didn’t write reviews of W!ld Rice’s Monkey Goes West and Dim Sum Dollies History of Singapore Part 2 because I felt they were below the usual high standards set by W!ld Rice and Dim Sum Dollies respectively)

Again I stress that this is my opinion and I am no theatre practitioner or have a degree in the performing arts. I just write based on my feelings of what I see, hear and experience during the show. I have received severe flak from some production directors, writers, actors, fanboys before because of my negative reviews. I take it in .. it is part and parcel of a writing blog .. not everyone agrees with what I write. So these theatre practitioners should also understand that not everyone agrees with that they write and what they think is ‘perfect.’

Anyways, I want to know what my readers think? Do you all also feel that local theatre is losing its quality? Please comment as I want to know whether it is only me feeling this way. Is it that my expectations are too high? What can we do to improve the quality of local theatre?

A True Beauty... my Review of Beauty and the Beast

I caught Beauty and the Beast a few weekends ago. It was staged at the Mastercard Theatres at MBS. In my opinion, the seats at the Mastercard Theatres are extremely uncomfortable and the acoustics here are not as good that at the Esplanade and Victoria Theatre. I also caught Phantom and Sound of Music at the Mastercard Theatres and the music and singing can be muffled at times. That is why I try to avoid catching anything there. I wonder sometimes why they choose to stage these musicals there. Anyways it was pretty full with way more adults than children. I guess these adults must have loved the original Disney cartoon. A bit of a spoiler here but though the storyline is the same as the cartoon, NOT all the songs are the same. So how was it?

It was good. Really beautiful backdrops, sets and props. The singing was absolutely marvellous. Especially Belle !! I think she really stood out amongst all the other cast members. The Beast was good and Gaston did his smug, strutting act well but next to Belle, they all paled in comparison. I think she will do an excellent Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. I can just imagine her singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in blue overalls and white blouse and red ruby shoes !!!  The other supporting cast – Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts & Chip were all good too in their roles and brought everything together very nicely.  

The backup dancers were superb. They were very energetic and the costumes that they were in … WOW !! A lot of money must have been spent on the costumes and the backdrop sets and props. The props and sets were not just 2-dimensional but full 3 dimensional and interactive as well. That may be why tickets are so expensive !! But I feel that they were worth it. In fact, just watching “Be Our Guest” on stage was worth it !! The colors, the dancing, the effects .. spectacular !!
If I had any complaints, it would be minor things like the Beast and Gaston could up their singing more. I don’t think Disney or the production can do anything about the uncomfortable seats or the acoustics in the theatre.

So folks, go catch Beauty and the Beast … it will be here up to the 3rd May 2015. This is the original Broadway production .. so expect really high production values and fantastic entertainment !! It is a real visual treat for the whole family !!! .. just make sure you bring some comfy pillows !!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tasteless Bubur Cha Cha : My Review of Great World Cabaret Let’s Bo Bo Cha Cha

When I bought the tickets to Great World Cabaret, I was thinking.. WOW Mark, Judee, Sebastian and Hossan all in one show .. CABARET STYLE … have to buy la. 4 blockbuster acts .. lots of Hokkien laughs .. tickets will surely be flying. Quickly buy .. however, the start of my disappointment came when I found out (on the day of the show) that they were separate .. one superstar one week. I told myself .. its ok .. Mark Lee will be super funny too even if it was for 1.5 hours. I was already contemplating buying tickets for the Sebastian shows as well (super big fan of Sebastian).

This was my first time to the RWS theatre and I must say it is very nice. Very plush and grand. VERY UNLIKE THE MBS MASTERCARD THEATRE which is grey and cold. I had super VIP seats right in the middle of the theatre and plenty of legroom with even a little table to put my drinks. ROCKSTAR SEATS. As it got nearer to 8pm, the seats began to fill up. As the RWS theatre is very large, I was thinking would it be possible for it to be full-house .. especially on the 3rd day night of the Lunar New Year. Sadly, I was right .. it didn’t fill up.. it was barely 40% filled.

The show then started.

Before I continue, I must stress that this is solely my opinion based on what I saw that night and comparing to other plays and shows and theatre that I have seen previously. If you do not agree, then go read something else. OK disclaimer done .. back to my review.)

The show was a mess. It was amateur and badly put together. The premise of the show was about this man who is now elderly remembering the days when he was younger and working in a carbaret show in Singapore in the 60s. The different 'segments' of the show were like different 'acts' which used to be featured at a cabaret at that time. The show opened with the big dance and song routine which though was very bright and colourful just felt short of exciting. This was followed up by the ‘three drunken sailors’ routine which was just unnecessary. There was no excitement to it. Next came the singing /dancing act where 3 ladies came out to sing and dance. The only one who stood out was the second lady singing ‘Bunga Melur’ as Kartina Dahari. Rose Chan and Sakura Teng wwere just bad imitations. I have seen Hui Xuan sing and dance before and this performance was muted and more focus on ‘removing her clothes’ rather than on her singing and dancing (which I know she is superb at). It did not help that the accompanying music drowned out their voices (which was the common thing throughout the show).

The next ‘segment’ was the Magic Show which was not too bad. One or two of the magic tricks were pretty impressive but then the others were like again just so ‘ho-hum.’ The magician’s assistant was applauding the magician more than the audience. This was followed by the ‘Siglap brothers’ routine which I feel must be the worst thing I have ever watched to date.

Mark Lee’s routine came next and it was above average for the evening. To be honest, it really would not have taken much to shine amongst all the other ‘segments’. He was funny in his unique gangster-ah beng way and though his jokes were very much cliché, his presentation and style made it all funny. However, he was BARELY on stage for longer than 20 mins. The next act was the Qing Dao Acrobatic troupe which was pretty good too. The stunts performed were quite entertaining and suspenseful. This was followed by another song-and-dance routine and rounded up with the entire cast (magician and acrobats included) singing on stage.

Before I wrote this review, I was read other reviews of this show. Generally the reviews from other reviewers were more negative and positive. My view is that the show was hastily put together and it showed. I was very surprised as it was directed by George Chan and written by the highly dependable Alfian Sa’at. I guess the dancing was well choreographed and there were not many lines in it anyway so it was not fair to judge George and Alfian based on this show.

I was very disappointed with the quality of the segments. It felt to me like lets get whoever wants to perform, add a dash of star power in the form of Mark / Judee / Sebastian / Hossan, add some nostalgic music and dancing and sell it to the public as a SG50 show to teach the young about entertainment in the 60s. There narrative which was meant to string the segments together was very flimsy, the quality of the segments was really mediocre and it just all felt amateur. I doubt that a cabaret show in the 60s was in English and with an American accent too. It was smart idea to push Mark Lee and Sebastian to lure the hokkien-speaking Aunty crowd but just for 15 minutes?

I am very surprised that Dream Academy came out with something of this low quality. I was very surprised that 40% of the seats were filled (there were 30% discount coupons being distributed in the Food court…  and IMHO .. it still wasn’t worth it). After watching ‘Great World Cabaret’ and ‘Dim Sum Dollies : History of Singapore Part 2’ late last year, I am beginning to wonder about the quality of productions by Dream Academy. I have nothing personal against anyone in Dream Academy and Dream Academy itself. I have always enjoyed their previous shows like Crazy Christmas and such but lately the quality of their productions seem to be going down ... STEEPLY. Ticket prices have increased and the audience will surely want to watch something highly entertaining and fun. Studying the audiences reaction after the finale, I could tell that they were not entertained at all. Very little laughter and applause throughout the show. When the segments ended, it was more like .. “err are we supposed to clap now” kind of reaction.

If anyone from Dream Academy want to contact me about this review and what I think about the show so that hopefully something can be improved, please feel free to. I will be glad to share my experience with you so that we can improve the quality of our local productions.

One thing’s for sure .. I will not be buying tickets for the Sebastian variant of Great World Cabaret.