Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare in the Park’

“O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”

Now, even if you’ve never read a single Shakespeare play in your life, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard that line and know where it comes from. It’s one of the best known lines from the famous Romeo & Juliet!

Or if you are from my generation, at the very least you would have flocked to the theatres to watch Leonardo DiCaprio play Romeo in the movie version of Romeo & Juliet.

This April, we are in for a real treat by the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT). As part of their Shakespeare in the Park series, SRT will be staging Romeo & Juliet from 27 April to 22 May 2016. This will be their ninth production of Shakespeare in the Park, and 2016 is an extra special year because this year marks the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare. To join in on the celebrations commemorating the bard’s life and works, SRT has chosen to stage what is probably Shakespeare’s most well-loved play, one which has had a profound influence on popular culture.

Main Visual (with text)

I love the Shakespeare in the Park series! A picnic with friends and loved ones, lush greenery, and a good performance of the classics. What’s not to love?

SRT’s production of Romeo & Juliet will be a contemporary take on the classic, and if Merchant of Venice was anything to go by, it will be a visually stunning production. The young lovers will be portrayed by Thomas Pang (Tribes) and Cheryl Tan (Beauty World and Red Riding Hood), with Remesh Panicker, Shane Mardjuki and Daniel Jenkins in other leading roles.

Remesh Panicker!! I’m so excited to watch him act, you have no idea. I loved his portrayal of Shylock in Merchant of Venice, and am very keen to see which role he takes up and how he interprets the role.

If you read in the Straits Times, there’s a chance that this might be the last Shakespeare in the Park (sob!). If you’ve never been, you really should go down this year to experience the event for yourself.

Prices: From $40 (student and group concessions available)
Venue: Fort Canning Park
Ticketing: SISTIC at 6348 5555 or http://www.sistic.com.sg
Performances: 30th April to 22nd May 2016


***Ticket Giveaway***

SRT has generously sponsored 1 pair of tickets for Sun, 15 May 2016, 7.30pm for one lucky reader. To take part in this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment in the post, telling me who you’ll bring for the show! Remember to leave your email address.

All entries must be in by Fri, 6 May, 6pm. Please make sure that you can make it for that showtime before taking part as the tickets cannot be exchanged for other shows.


Terms & Conditions: The winning entry will be selected at random from all qualifying entries and the winner will be announced here in the comments section of this post, and will be contacted via email.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond, failing which another winner will be selected. Tickets will be available for collection on the day itself at the performance venue.

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The weather looked threatening, but thankfully it held up and we could enjoy a night at Fort Canning Park watching SRT’s Shakespeare in the Park – Merchant of Venice.  Armed with picnic chairs and unhealthy McDonald’s grub, we found ourselves a good spot and settled down to what could be our last date night before baby no.3 arrives.

I was immediately stuck by the very modern set, all silver and industrial.  It turned out to be very versatile.  With just a few additions of key props, the same set was able to transport the audience from the open Rialto, to the courtyard of Belmont, to Shylock’s office, to the court room, and even a bar.

This production put the Merchant of Venice in a modern context and sought to show that the themes of justice, class, power and love are still as relevant today as they were in the past.  And references to modern forms of social interaction such as messaging and the use of iPads to screen Portia’s potential suitors was met with audible appreciation from the audience.

Strutting about with their mobiles – Photo taken from the SRT Website

I thought that on the whole the production was of a high standard, with seamless transitions between scenes, and key roles helmed by experienced actors.  I was especially taken by Remesh Panicker’s portrayal of Shylock.  I thought he delivered a stellar performance, giving Shylock a very human and vulnerable feel.  I’ve always had a bias towards Shylock as I feel he’s been wronged and unfairly persecuted by everyone, his stubborn demands for a pound of flesh not withstanding, and I felt this Shylock fit in with my idea of how he should be.  I liked Panicker’s delivery of Shylock’s famous speech from Act 3, scene 1 – “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”  Unlike many other presentations which usually over dramatise this portion, he delivered it almost matter-of-factly which, to me, emphasized all the more the words in the speech.

Remesh Panicker as Shylock – Photo taken from the SRT Website

There was one disappointing character though.  I felt that the supposedly comic role of Launcelout Gobbo (played by Sean Lai) fell flat.  He was neither funny nor amusing.  Sean’s diction was also a little hard to dicipher at times.  And the very random yells of “ang mo gui” at one point seemed out of place and downright strange (though this might be the fault of the script rather than the actor).

The most interesting thing for me was a new slant that I had never quite noticed in reading the play before.  In this production, Jessica (played by Krissy Jesudason) and Lorenzo’s (played by Johnson Chong) relationship seemed to be headed south, rather than being in the throes of love as I had remembered.  The comparison of their love to famous lovers in history was delivered in a sarcastic and tense manner, as if they were descending into an argument and spiraling out of love.  This was an interpretation I had never comtemplated before.  And the ending of the play further reinforced this view that Jessica almost regrets the actions she has taken as she has betrayed her father and is left with a man whom she is not completely happy with.  It was food for thought as Jon and I left the venue, and is something I’m still mulling over.

Gathering of friends in the courtyard of Belmont – Photo taken from SRT Website

Good acting, good sets, good music, good atmosphere.  You should definitely check out this run of Shakespeare in the park.  The show runs until 25 May, and tickets are available through SISTIC.


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

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