Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘music’ Category

The boys and I had the opportunity to catch Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story which made its Asian premiere at Resorts World Sentosa on 27 November 2014. They were so excited in the run up to the show! When we read the story, they were very tickled by Mr Croc and all his tick-tocking that they kept talking about how they couldn’t wait to see Mr Croc in the show. I was really praying that the show would feature Mr Croc, else they’d be so disappointed. And thankfully, they did! A huge Mr Croc too!

Peter Pan Cover Image

Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story, is presented by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) in association with Belgium’s Music Hall. It tells the enchanting story of Peter Pan, a mischievous boy with the ability to fly and who refuses to grow up. One night, he visits Wendy, John, and Michael Darling in their London nursery and takes them on an unforgettable flight where the Lost Boys, Indians, mermaids and pirates await them at Neverland. While they revel in adventures beyond their wildest imaginations, the villainous Captain Hook hatches an evil scheme to capture Peter Pan – his greatest enemy. In a fight years ago, Peter had cut off Captain Hook’s hand and a crocodile ate it. It tasted so delicious that the crocodile followed Captain Hook everywhere in the hope of eating the rest of him! The story climaxes in a duel between Peter Pan and Captain Hook, with the crocodile getting his treat in the end.

Beautiful set

The nursery in London (Photo by Luk Montsaert)

Wendy with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys (Photo by Leslie Artamonow)

Wendy with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys (Photo by Leslie Artamonow)

The Indians on Neverland (Photo by Luk Montsaert)

The Indians on Neverland (Photo by Luk Montsaert)

Peter Pan and Captain Hook (Photo by Leslie Artamonow)

Peter Pan and Captain Hook (Photo by Leslie Artamonow)

The giant crocodile! (Photo from The Desert Life)

The concept for this version of Peter Pan was to use familiar, chart-topping hits to bring across the story. Songs such as “Angels” by Robbie Williams, “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban, “Forever Young” by Alphaville, and many others, were rearranged to fit the feel and context of the story. It’s pretty well done, and for the most part you don’t feel it’s been forced into the storyline. I left the show with “One Day I’ll Fly Away” stuck in my head for days!

The downside to this concept is that if you are not very familiar with the storyline, you may have trouble understanding what is going on – because there is so much going on! There is a narrator, but no dialogue between the various characters at all. Tinkerbell takes on the role of the narrator and remains unseen for almost the entire show. As she speaks, the performers are acting, and there is dancing, and the set is changing. Basically, plenty to distract you from what Tinkerbell is saying. Children, in particular, may find it hard to follow the story if they haven’t already read the book. If you are bringing kids, I strongly recommend you read them the story first. It also didn’t quite make sense to me that Tinkerbell was the narrator as she was supposed to be locked up in a box in Peter Pan’s hideout, so how could she know what was going on elsewhere?

Tinkerbell, the narrator (Photo by Leslie Artamonow)

Tinkerbell, the narrator (Photo by Leslie Artamonow)

Still, this production is a real visual treat. Elaborate costumes, a whimsical set featuring giant books, high-flying action, acrobatic stunts, and really good dancing. I was impressed by the dancers and Martino Muller’s choreography. Unlike other musicals I’ve seen, almost every segment of this show featured a full contemporary-style dance routine. It was like a double treat for me – watching the story of Peter Pan, and watching a dance performance. I really loved how the dancers attacked their moves and were so expressive. It as a pity that the programme booklet didn’t feature the details of the dancers as I would very much have liked to read up about them.

Dancers in Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story

Dancers from Peter Pan (Photo from City & Style Magazine)

At the end of the show we were unanimous in our choice of favourite character – Captain Hook. We loved Captain Hook! Played perfectly by Wim Van Den Driesche, from the moment he appeared on stage, he was a force to be reckoned with. He sang Rossini’s Largo Al Factotum and portrayed a pompous Captain Hook that was at once melodramatic yet extremely endearing. The drama continued when Captain Hook sang Puccini’s Nessun Dorma and his crew were falling all over themselves in their adoration of him. It was hilarious! The boys left singing nonsense words pretending to be Captain Hook singing in Italian. They also spent the next few days using anything vaguely hook-like to role play as Captain Hook in their games.

Captain Hook (Photo by Luk Montsaert)

Captain Hook (Photo by Luk Montsaert)

Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story makes for a fun and entertaining family outing. The action (and Captain Hook!) will delight children – just make sure you read the story first. If I may quote Ellery as we walked out of the theatre, “It was awesome, Mummy!”

Super happy!

Happy boys on a late night outing to catch Peter Pan

Us before the show

Us before the show

Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story run at Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentore, until 20 Jan 2015. Tickets are available from the SISTIC website, or through the SISTIC hotline (63485555).

———————————————————-

We received complementary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’ve always thought Rapunzel a strange yet appealing story.  Why can’t the witch just fly up into the tower herself since apparently witches fly on broomsticks?  How did the witch first put Rapunzel in the tower?  Isn’t it, like, crazily painful for someone to use your hair as rope?  I guess fairy tales are like that – creative license to have some loopholes. But we like the stories anyway!

After re-introducing the story of Rapunzel to the boys, I brought them to catch the performance of Rapunzel by The Little Company at the DBS Arts Centre.  Their previous shows like the Three Little Pigs were very engaging, with hooks to draw the children in.  I was looking forward to a similarly good production, and happily, I was not disappointed.

When we first walked in we were surprised not to see a tall tower, but rather a humongous cactus!  That signaled to us that this was not going to be just the usual retelling of the story.  Clearly it was going to be set in the desert, and we were pleasantly surprised at the cactus tower because even the promotional pamphlets showed a regular tower.  The set was very attractive, and the boys straightaway started pointing out things that caught their eye, like how plates were used to decorate the tree.  For kids shows, I really appreciate when the set is decorated well as that’s the first step to drawing the children into the story.

Giant cactus tower

Giant cactus tower

This Rapunzel was cast as an avid reader trying to take matters into her own hands.  Rather than wait helplessly in the cactus tower, she was determined to find a way out of her sorry situation (which includes a diabolical witch taking pleasure in making her cry so that her tears can be used as a secret ingredient in the witch’s recipes!).  Rapunzel finds a magic spell that can break the enchantment of the tower and give her her freedom.  However, she needs to get hold of three ingredients for the spell to work.  I like how the children were involved in helping to remember what the three ingredients were by following the actions to a song Rapunzel made up.  My boys are usually more than happy to participate in such things.

Looking out into the world

Looking out into the world
(photo courtesy of SRT)

With the help of her friends Harriet the roadrunner, Hugo the armadillo, Chester the camel, and her first ever human friend, Montague the Prince, she manages eventually to get the ingredients she needs and gain her freedom.  There was a nice little revelation at the end of the show too, which was an extension of the original tale.

Harriet, Hugo and Montague

Harriet, Hugo and Montague
(photo courtesy of SRT)

There were a couple of cute songs, with my favourite being one about how when you meet someone for the first time it’s better to not be wearing pajamas!  It was so random, and so funny!  It was particularly amusing when later that night my parents brought Asher out for a car ride with his cousin and he was in his pajamas.  Ellery said he hoped Asher wasn’t meeting anyone new  :)

Anyway, Cheryl Tan who played Rapunzel has such a beautiful, crystalline voice.  It was so sweet you can believe Montague’s desire to meet Rapunzel after he heard her singing. I also thought there was a nice chemistry between her and Trev Neo who played Montague. He gave the prince a nice, light touch.

Cheryl Tan and Trev Neo in TLC's Rapunzel (2014)

Rapunzel & her prince
(photo courtesy of SRT)

Overall, I liked the twist in the story and appreciated the fact that it didn’t stray too far from the original.  I don’t like classic stories being mangled!  It was also great that the children were engaged throughout, and could remember parts of it after.

Rapunzel runs until 27th April, everyday except Mondays.  You can get your tickets through the SISTIC website or through their hotline (63485555).

———————————————————————-

Disclaimer: I was given tickets to review the show.  All opinions are my own.

Read Full Post »

Let It Go Wrong

We went to catch the Mums & Babies screening of Frozen a couple of weeks back.  I had heard many good reviews in December but we never got around to catching it.

I wanted to catch it for a few reasons.  First, it was apparently just very good.  Second, I thought I had better expose the boys to a bit more princessy/girly stories before baby comes.  They were starting to think that things like fairy tales are only for girls.

So anyway, they LOVED IT.

And no wonder the song “Let It Go” won at the Oscars.  Almost every kid I know is familiar with that song.  The boys themselves have been singing it in the car very often, and frequently ask to watch the videoclip of Elsa singing the song on YouTube.

frozen_let_it_go.jpg

One day, they came back with a funny variation to the song that they had picked up from school.  And given how the song has been annoying many adults without kids (and some with kids!), I couldn’t help laughing!

At the top of their voices they sang:

“Let it go!  Let it go!  I want to smash the radio!”

I wanted to upload the video, but somehow can’t.  Anyway, you can just imagine :)

Read Full Post »

We had gone for the 2012 iLight festival held at Marina Bay, and I remember the kids had a great time interacting with some of the light exhibits.  So I was very keen to take them down for this year’s iLight festival.

I managed to coax my parents to come along, and we started by fueling up at Glutton’s Bay at Esplanade, ordering wayyy too much food but somehow managing to stuff it all in.  Whenever I’m there I can’t stop myself from ordering the hokkien mee and the or-luat (oyster omelette).  The hokkien mee is cooked with a punchy stock, giving the final product a wonderful flavour.  The or-luat also beautifully balances the chewy texture of the starch with the crispiness of the fried eggs, topping it off with fat, juicy oysters.  Yum!

After stuffing ourselves, we very much needed a good walk to work off our dinner.  And boy, did we have a good walk.

We started by checking out the performance by Tribal Tide at the Esplanade’s outdoor theatre.  They were performing as part of the Mosaic Music Festival.  We were drawn there by their irresistible beats, created using a variety of drums from Africa,  India, South America and other parts of the world.  It’s the kind of music that just makes you want to move.  I could have stayed there all night if I didn’t already have other plans to see the iLight exhibits.  Plus the kids were in need of some physical activity – they took to climbing all over Papa during the performance, and I was getting worried about his back :)

Tribal

Tribal Tide performing as part of the Mosaic Festival

(clockwise from left) Shooting Kung Kung the minute they saw him, climbing all over him, attempting to sit on the funny curved bench

(clockwise from left) Shooting Kung Kung the minute they saw him, climbing all over him, attempting to sit on the funny curved bench

We decided to walk across the Esplanade Bridge, past Fullerton to go see The Pool exhibit at the Promontory.  The idea was that from there we could walk the rest of way around the bay area and catch the rest of the exhibits without having to double back at any point.  That plan worked out well, though it took much longer than expected!  We took a grand total of 4 hours to complete the round!

We walked at a leisurely pace, stopping to see the various sights and exhibits, even catching the Marina Bay Sand’s laser light show at 8pm from the Fullerton side (which I think is nicer than watching it from the MBS side). Because there was always something new to see, plus the fairly breezy (though slightly hazy) weather, the time passed really quickly.  It was only during the last one hour that we started to feel our feet ache and checked the watch.  We were surprised to see that we had spent so much time there!  The boys really impressed me too.  Asher walked the entire way, while Ellery walked almost all of the way – I carried him for a few 5 minute stretches during the last 30min of our outing.

I thought this year’s line up of exhibits was more interesting as a whole than the one two years ago.  The kids, in particular, loved playing at The Pool.  It’s an exhibit made up of giant concentric circles created from interactive circular pads.  You can jump onto the various pads, and when you do the pad changes colour.  At different times the colour scheme of the pads would change.  For example, all pads start blue and change into rainbow colours when stepped on, or all pink changing to blue when stepped on.  It was pretty to see a path of coloured lights where people had stepped on.

The kids pretended they were Elsa from the cartoon Frozen.  They stomped on the pads and imagined ice forming under their feet :)  I could only coax them away from The Pool by telling them there were other exhibits ahead that we could pretend were made of ice.

At Floating Hearts, a wall of illuminated hearts that passers-by could switch on and off, the kids tried to turn off all the lights.  The iLight guide attempted to convince them that it was prettier with the lights on and proceeded to switch the hearts back on, but this only spurred all the children around to try and switch all the lights off even faster!  It was quite funny seeing half the exhibit darkened, and realising that the upper part was still illuminated only because the children were too short to reach the hearts above!

Ellery liked Joujou-ours, a bunch of teddy bear heads in different colours – and one looking like it had chicken pox.  He happily ran from one bear to another giving them a big hug.

The other exhibits the kids liked were The Wishing Tree, which they pretended was an ice tree (had to stop them from stomping on it!), Happy Croco, more because of the funny sign that said “Please do not enter or Croco will bite”, and Cloud where they could pull chains to turn on and off the lights.

At Flash, Ellery on his own decided he wanted to lie down and rest, and he chose to lie down in the exhibit much to the amusement of everyone around :)  He really looked so comfortable.

iLight Festival 2014 1   iLight Festival 2014 3 iLight Festival 2014 2

If there’s anything that could be improved, it would be signs pointing to where the nearest toilets are – important when you are with little kids.  The map they provide does not give that information too.  FYI, you can duck into the Fullerton Hotel, some portable toilets at the Promontory where Savour (the food festival) is being held, Marina Bay Link Mall (there’s a lift along the Promontory), and MBS.

Also, be prepared to pay through your nose for any drinks.  We brought some of our own, but along the 4 hour hike we drained all the bottles and needed refilling.

The iLight Festival is on everyday from 730-11pm until 30 March.  Check it out if you can!

Read Full Post »

I was invited to take a peek at the auditions for The Sound of Music, and made a trip down on the first day of the auditions.  Arguably the world’s best-loved musical, The Sound of Music will be making it’s way to The MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands this July.

Captionless Image

The Sound of Music tells the uplifting true story of Maria, the fun-loving governess who changes the lives of the widowed Captain Von Trapp and his seven children by re-introducing them to music, culminating in the family’s flight across the Austrian mountains as tensions rise prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Out of the seven Von Trapp children, the producers are looking to cast six of the roles in Singapore.  The roles up for grabs are Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl.  The role of the eldest child, Liesl von Trapp, is not open for auditions.  A total of 18 kids will be cast, though, as the producers want three sets of children to play the various parts.  Apparently almost 400 hopefuls registered for the auditions, and one mother estimated that about one-third of those applying were Singaporeans, with the rest made up of other nationalities.

I didn’t realise that parents weren’t allowed to watch their kids audition, so when I stumbled into one of the theatres I was wondering why it was so quiet, and why there were no kids to be found.  I eventually made my way to the main audition theatre, and there the kids were bustling about.  There was a definitely a sense of excitement, and contrary to what I thought, most of the children did not appear to be nervous.  They were happily chattering with one another and prancing about when it wasn’t their turn.  In fact, it seemed like there was more tension in the parent’s area than in the kids!

Even when director and choreographer Anton Luitingh had the children sing for him, they seemed to take it in their stride, repeating parts of the songs if he asked them to.  I guess that’s how children are – it’s all good fun when they are doing something they enjoy!

Parents waiting anxiously

Parents waiting anxiously

Anton listening to the kids intently

Anton listening to the kids intently

The adults deliberating

The adults deliberating while the kids waited

I remember how in Secondary 1 my school had singing lessons for all classes, and there was a series of songs from this musical that we had to learn.  It was something my class enjoyed, and I can still remember the lyrics to most of the songs up till today.  That’s how memorable the songs are!  I remember that my classmates and I particularly loved “My Favourite Things”, “Climb Every Mountain”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, and of course the title theme “The Sound of Music”.  We’d be walking along the corridor, and someone would suddenly sing, “The hillllsss are alive!”

It would be great to let my kids watch the musical and get to know the songs from this wonderful story.  Hopefully they will love the songs as much as I do!  

Tickets for The Sound of Music will go on sale in April, and further details of the Singapore season will be announced next month.  I will post more updates if I get more details!

Read Full Post »

Jon and I took a short break with his friends at Phuket for 2 nights.  It was a really short trip cos we only arrived there around 10pm on the first night.  His other friends had left for Phuket early that morning, but we didn’t want to have to spend quite so much time away from Asher.  As it is, it was already be the longest that he’d been away from us. 

You probably won’t understand, but I’ve been dreaming of eating cup noodles on a plane since my last KLM flight in 2007.  I have fond memories of my LON-SIN-LON flights via KLM when I got to watch movies the entire way and snack on steaming hot cups of noodles in the cold airplane in the dark while everyone else was sleeping.  It was just something that I really really enjoyed :)

My parents, aunt and grandaunt eagerly made an event of our being away cos they’ve always wanted to have Asher stay with them for a long stretch.  Two days isn’t very long, but since it was the longest ever, they quickly took the opportunity to plan a staycation :)  Aidan came along too, so it was a ton of fun for the grandies to have both grandchildren around for the ‘trip’ at the same time.  And, the two boys get along spectacularly, so it’s always lots of fun and very entertaining to watch them together.  They just feed off each other’s antics and utterances.  Very adorable :)

They arranged a two night stay at Fairmont Hotel cos that weekend coincided nicely with the NDP rehearsals.  They managed to get a room facing the Padang so the boys got to watch the fly past, helicopters, parachutes, and of course, fireworks!  I’ll have to get some of the pics that they took that weekend :)

What about Phuket?  Well, I was ill from start to finish of the trip.  In fact, I just got worse and worse.  I was also unable to enjoy all the spa treats cos of the pregnancy.  So I found myself sitting around while everyone else spent hours being kneaded and stretched.  BUT!  That was exactly how I liked it, cos I got to read to my heart’s content!  I did exactly as I planned.  Read.  I brought along my cousin’s copy of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  She had lent it to be a few months after Asher was born, but I never got around to reading it.  So I thought I’d start on it during this trip.  I targeted to finish the book by the end of the two days, which for me – a slow reader – was going to be a challenge. 

But I did it!  Stayed up late at night, woke up early in the morning.  Was utterly antisocial with Jon during breakfast cos I’d just read and eat (altho he didn’t mind cos he had his newspapers, and then in his words, he had “quiet”…tsk).  Didn’t really get much chance to be antisocial with his friends cos most of them weren’t even up that early anyway haha.  It’s a hazard of parenthood I tell you.  No matter how late you sleep, you still end up waking up at 7am Singapore time and find you can’t go back to sleep.  We had a good 2-3 hours before everyone was finally up, so we even had time to squeeze in a swim on the first morning before meeting them back at the breakfast hall. 

I also read through all those hours sitting at the spa waiting for everyone to be done with their massages, and was done just before we boarded the bus for the airport on the last day. 

I love the book!  I never watched the movie, and hadn’t heard what the story was about.  My impression was that it was some action packed book cos the movie adverts showed vampires chasing each other.  But it was completely different!  It was not at all what I expected, and so much more compelling and engaging.   To me, it’s not a book about vampires and werewolves and all that lore, it’s a love story.  It’s really a story about their relationship and it’s development.  Ok, it’s not a book to read to enjoy beautiful literature.  For that, stick to the classics.  But, somehow, despite all the cheesy lines, she manages to capture your imagination and pull you deep into the story.  Yes, there are plenty of cheesy lines.  How Edward is like a model/god/too good to be true, how he makes Bella hyperventilate/forget what she was thinking/lose her balance, etc.  And these lines are peppered throughout the book.  But, because of the way Edward is portrayed, I can believe that you would really think that of him, and you would react that way.  Oh, Edward!  ;)

Ya, I know many people think of it as a teenager’s book.  But actually, the many adults I know who’ve read it love it too!  But admittedly, it’s more of a girl’s book.  To the skeptics, and especially the romantics at heart, put aside your preconceived notions and give the book a chance! 

At the end of the trip I had only done a teeny bit of shopping for 2 pieces of kids clothing, had Thai food when we could (we managed to make our way to one of the back alleys where locals eat which we discovered the last time we came), and made a discovery about crepes. 

There are plenty of street-side stalls selling crepes in Phuket, and Jon and I found that there really is a difference in quality of crepes, even though they may be located side by side.  We thought that since their menus all boasted approximately the same range of crepes, it probably didn’t matter which stall you bought it from.  But on our last night there, we tried the chocolate & banana crepe.  The first one we had was made by a popular stallholder, and the queue was quite long.  I managed to study her method and found that she flipped the crepe before spreading the nutella.  She then let the chocolate bubble for a while before slicing the banana on top, folding the edges over, then pouring chocolate sauce on top.  It was a heavenly crepe.  Crispy on the outside, gooey goodness on the inside.  It was so good we decided to have another, but had walked while eating and decided to order the same crepe from a different stallholder.  Bad choice.  It was nothing like the first one, and I’m certain it has to do with the method.  This lady put blobs of nutella on the moist batter without having first flipped it.  She also cut the bananas straightaway onto the chocolate before folding the edges in and pouring the chocolate sauce over.  As a result, it was not crispy, more like man chiang kueh.  And the insides were too thick and jelak – not cos it was our second one for the night, but it was just too cloying to be enjoyable.  We didn’t finish that crepe.

So anyway, back to the Twilight Saga.  When we got back to Singapore around 1am, I was still quite awake and straightaway started on New Moon.  Within a week from the time I first started Twilight, I was done with the series.  I couldn’t put the book down!  I just kept wanting to go on and on, from book to book.  I was so energised!  It’s been a very long time since I’d read a book that really captured my imagination, that filled my mind with images of places and settings I knew every detail about. 

I found myself digging deeper into the Twilight Saga after I’d finished the third and fourth books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.  To my delight I discovered there was an unfinished book called Midnight Sun, which was Twilight written from Edward’s perspective.  After that, I rented the videos for Twilight and New Moon and made Jon watch them with me.  He had refused to read the books but promised to humour me and watch together with me :)  However, the movies were a let down.  If I hadn’t read the book I really wouldn’t understand why Bella loves Edward so much and why she feels so strongly for him.  They fall in love too quickly.  I had my reservations about the movie before watching it because a lot of the important story telling parts of the book have to do with narration and internal thoughts – how do you put that into a movie?  And as expected, it was no where as good as what my own imagination had cooked up.  Told Jon that the movie probably only captures like 25% of whatever you can think up on your own. 

The the worst bit (well almost the worst…it’s a toss up between the failure to live up the story and this), Robert Pattinson is so not my kind of Edward!  He seems just all wrong!  And what’s with that weird hair?!  Edward’s hair isn’t described like that!  I saw from internet articles that he’s apparently quite the acclaimed actor, and perhaps in other movies he really does do a good job, but in Twilight, he so bombed.  And it was clear, at least to me, that in the movie New Moon, Taylor Lautner who played Jacob was so much more convincing!   

The other bits that the movie was unable to capture properly were the portrayals of the other characters which I thought were quite central to the story, especially Alice. 

But I decided I liked the music from Twilight, especially after seeing the MTVs of Muse and Paramore from the DVDs, and went to get the soundtrack.  What a great buy!  I love the soundtrack!  It’s one of those CDs I can put on repeat and not get tired of quickly. 

 Now, I’m waiting for VideoEzy to stock Eclipse.  I didn’t catch it in theatres cos I hadn’t read the books then.  Didn’t want to spoil my reading experience.  And even though I know it won’t live up to what’s in my head, I still want to watch it anyway.

Read Full Post »

Because He Lives!

Was thinking of this song all day on Sunday :)

Because He Lives

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »