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Posts Tagged ‘Singapore Repertory Theatre’

“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.

TICKET INFORMATION
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.

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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 good folks at The Little Company have outdone themselves! What a treat it was to catch Treasure Island!

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Even though I was confident that the story alone would make this an interesting show, I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical about the lead role of this classic tale being taken on by a female. And I was wondering how they were going to bring the audience onto the ship, the Hispaniola. But my concerns were unfounded and the show was superb!

The kids were very excited to go for Treasure Island and had re-read their Treasure Island book in anticipation of the show. Even Alyssa was familiar with the words ‘Treasure Island’ after I read to her A Shapes Primer: Treasure Island a few times. On the day itself they even dressed to the theme.

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Their Treasure Island inspired t-shirt designs on their Tangram Tees

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A spot of Tasty biscuit sword fighting during the interval

The kids were completely absorbed by the show, and there were many humourous parts sprinkled here and there to lighten the story. They were especially tickled by the O’Brien and how he described his abilities and why he should be brought along for the voyage. He was the character that provided the most laughs. Even after we went home they were singing his “I have hands, I am strong” song.

Dwayne Lau, Ann Lek and Mitchell Lagos in TLC's Treasure Island

(L to R) Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins and O’Brien

It’s hard to say which was the main highlight – the cast, the songs or the set, because they were all so good!

The cast featured familiar faces that we had seen in other performances, and I was happy to see them thrown together in this show. In fact, several of them were my favourite actors from separate productions, so this was really a high powered cast that was put together for Treasure Island. Together they made a great team and each played their characters (some of them taking on multiple roles) with such aplomb.

Tan Shou Chen, Ann Lek and Erwin Shah Ismail in TLC's Treasure Island

Treasure!

The songs were fabulous! How else can I describe this? You really got to listen for yourself. “Life on the Sea” was beautifully arranged, and there was the wonderful number “The Coconuts and Me” by Ben Gunn (played by Kimberly Chan). I would consider purchasing a copy of the CD if there was one on sale!

I loved the sets too, especially the ship. You really felt like you were on board the ship with them. At one point one of the characters threw something overboard, and I expected to hear a splash! That’s how well they brought you into the story! From the Admiral Benbow Inn, to the ship, to an island filled with coconut trees, the sets were all very well done.

Dwayne Lau, Mitchell Lagos, Ann Lek, Erwin Shah Ismail, Tan Shou Chen and Kimberly Chan in TLC's Treasure Island

Just look at that gorgeous set! And the lovely costumes!

The show ends on a positive note with the power of friendship to make things family friendly, and it was good for the kids to see how someone can turn over a new leaf. It ends on a high, and you leave feeling extremely satisfied.

Erwin Shah Ismail. Kimberly Chan, Dwayne Lau, Ann Lek, Mitchell Lagos and Tan Shou Chen in TLC's Treasure Island

Enemies turned friends

There are only a few days left (the show ends its run on 13 Dec), and if you haven’t already caught the show, I highly highly recommend it. It is probably my favourite show by The Little Company so far!

Tickets are available through the SISTIC website and the SISTIC hotline (63485555).

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Disclaimer: We were given 4 complementary tickets to watch the show, but all opinions are my own. 

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Ahoy there! Somethin’ excitin’ is comin’ o’er yer way come the end of October! Better be on the lookout for it, me hearties!

Singapore Repertory Theatre’s (SRT) The Little Company (TLC) will be staging the exciting and swashbuckling story of Treasure Island from 30 Oct 2015 at the DBS Arts Centre.

A new adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s popular novel of the same name, Treasure Island follows the adventure of Jim Hawkins, who receives a treasure map from a kooky old seaman. Jim is tasked to help find the hidden treasure, but the road to riches is never smooth sailing. In this version of the Treasure Island, Jim Hawkins is cast as a lion-hearted 13-year-old girl rather than a boy, possibly to appeal to the girls, though I think the story itself should be compelling enough.

Look out for other colourful characters like Captain Smollett, Squire Trelawney, and of course, Long John Silver!

Treasure Island promises to be a hilarious and action-packed musical about friendship and trust, and is suitable for the whole family! It’s a great way to welcome the year-end holidays, and reward the kids for working so hard throughout the school year.

My boys have read Treasure Island the book and really enjoy the story. So much so that when Ellery saw a children’s illustrated version of the book at the Book Swop at the recent Octoburst Festival, he exchanged a book for it even though we already have the longer version at home.

We sure are looking forward to joining those buccaneers on an adventure to find gold! Argghh!!

Treasure Island is being staged from 30 Oct – 13 Dec, 2015 at the DBS Arts Centre.
Tickets are available through the SISTIC website or via their hotline (6348 5555).

***Giveaway***

SRT has generously sponsored 1 Family Package (4 tickets) worth $153 for Treasure Island on 7 November, 11am, to be given away to one lucky reader! Please make sure you are available to watch the show at the stated date and time before joining this giveaway. To qualify for the giveaway, please do the following by 28 Oct, 2359H:

  1. Answer the question below by leaving a comment at the end of this post. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win.
    “In The Little Company’s stage adaptation of Treasure Island, Jim Hawkins is a girl. True or False?”
  2. Share this post with three friends, and let me know your FB name so that I can verify your entry.

Good luck me hearties! May ya get yer hands on that ticket treasure!

UPDATE (22 Oct 2015)
Instead of just 1 Family Package (4 tickets), SRT will be sponsoring 2 Family Packages to 2 readers! What are you waiting for? Take part in the giveaway now!

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. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win. Tickets will be available for collection on the day itself at the performance venue. 

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Ellery skipped school (shh!), and together with Asher and Alyssa we trotted off to catch 金发姑娘和三只熊, otherwise known as Goldilocks and the Three Bears in Mandarin by The Little Company. This Mandarin version is adapted by well-known radio and TV personality, Danny Yeo, and Zhang Lesheng, an award-winning lyricist who has written theme and sub-theme songs for over 90 MediaCorp TV drama serials.

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We had watched the English version a while back, but the kids didn’t seem to remember much about it as they were quite a bit younger then. I was curious to see how this show would play out in Mandarin, and whether the songs and story would work as well when translated from English.

To my surprise I enjoyed it more than the English version! Interestingly, different songs stood out. In the English version, our favourite song was the ‘porridge song’. In Mandarin, we liked the ‘itchy song’ the most, followed by the ‘bear song’ and the ‘beware song’. These songs took on more life when sung in Mandarin, somehow. The songs were much more memorable in Mandarin and I occasionally still have the songs running through my head.

Papa, Mama, and Baby bears

Papa, Mama, and Baby bears (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

Bears enjoying their porridge (Photo taken from SRT's Facebook page)

Bears enjoying their porridge (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

I loved the Mandarin puns and thought it was a wonderful opportunity to show the children how Mandarin can enrich a show and make things more interesting. When Goldilocks first saw the bears she was freaking out and kept saying “x-x-x-x-xiong”. Papa Bear then clarified that they were “熊” (xióng – bears) not “凶” (xiōng – fierce). They played on this pun a few times so that the kids could catch it – “熊爸爸” (bear papa) and not “凶爸爸” (fierce papa). It was also funny when Mama Bear wanted to calm Goldilocks down and told Papa Bear, “把小熊给她!” He then tried to pick up Baby Bear to give to Goldilocks! She actually meant the teddy bear, which can also be called 小熊! I pointed out to the boys that these jokes would not have been possible in English. Teddy Bear and Baby Bear wouldn’t have been interchangeable, neither would there have been a fierce daddy/bear daddy pun. They were quite tickled by this and went to ask Jon if he was a 凶 or 熊 daddy at night.

Goldilocks

Goldilocks (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

There was very good chemistry among the actors, and they really brought the show together. The best part was the entire segment where the bears suspected someone had intruded into their house and found Goldilocks asleep. It was hilarious, not just because of the puns, but because Mama and Papa bear looked so terribly annoyed. You feel like they are convinced that the intruder, by eating their porridge, sitting in their chairs, and lying in the beds, has committed an absolutely unforgivable act and must be severely punished!

Discovering Goldilocks asleep in Baby Bear's bed! (Photo taken from SRT's Facebook page)

Discovering Goldilocks asleep in Baby Bear’s bed! (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

The only bit that didn’t quite work with the audience was when Goldilocks was singing about girls being capable and independent. I remember this didn’t quite work in the English version either. It’s a good message but I think the language is a bit too sophisticated for many of the young kids attending the show. That was just a very small part of the show though. Overall, it’s a very good production.

Asher, who was at first a bit reluctant to watch a show in Mandarin, declared afterwards that he really liked the show! I think that’s good endorsement :)

Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Mandarin) runs until 29 Mar 2015 at the DBS Arts Centre. You can get your tickets from the SISTIC website or call the ticketing hotline (63485555).

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

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Three cheers for The Little Company!

What an amazing production!

From the minute the curtains were opened, the kids and I were enthralled by The Nightingale. I found myself ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the gorgeous set. Once again The Little Company has created a beautiful world for the audience to enter, and for me it was one of the best sets for a children’s production I’ve seen in a while. Nowadays many theatre companies make do with one key prop and use it in multiple ways, leaving scene changes mostly up to your imagination. It can be very clever, depending on how it’s done, but today’s production reminded me that sometimes, there’s nothing quite like having a real change of scenery on stage. Besides the Emperor’s palace, curtains of green foliage transport you to the forest beyond the palace walls where the Nightingale and other animals live. I also liked the use of shadow play, with shadows cast upon hanging laundry, as the Lord Protector went around enquiring about the Nightingale.

Three cheers for the Emperor of China! (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

The story is based on Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Emperor and the Nightingale’. The Emperor of China is so enchanted by the lilting birdsong of the plain looking nightingale that he captures her and keeps her in a gilded cage for his daily entertainment. But soon, the nightingale loses her beautiful voice and he chases her away. She is replaced with a mechanical bird that the Emperor thought would be infallible, but even that bird loses it’s voice. He is so distraught without the companionship and song of the nightingale that his health quickly deteriorates until she comes back to sing for him.

I liked how the plight of the nightingale somewhat paralleled the life of the kitchenmaid. The plain-looking nightingale possessed the most beautiful voice imaginable, more beautiful than birds with more attractive plummage. In a somewhat similar vein, the kitchenmaid who was the “lowest of the low” knew more about life than the Lord Protector who was the “highest of the high”. It doesn’t mean that the lowly, unattractive creatures have nothing to offer. I thought that was a good lesson to point out to the kids.

The story unfolded at just the right pace for the children to follow and was made more interesting with the use of rhymes. The entire script was written as a rhyming poem! I was happy to find that there didn’t seem to be any stilted parts resulting from forcing out a rhyme. I thought it made for seamless flow into the many songs.

Yes, the songs. Actually this production reminded me of Frozen (in a good way) because the characters weave in and out of songs just like that.

And wow, the songs. They were so good! Slick, polished, creative. I wasn’t surprised at all to find out that Ruth Ling had composed them. Having seen a few productions which featured her work, there’s this extra touch of magic. I was especially surprised by the mechanical bird song that was done in a very modern electronic/hiphop way (you know, where the voices sound all, er…electronic…you know, you know? Pardon my lack of proper musical terminology :) ). I loved how fresh it was. And it wasn’t out of place either because it fit in perfectly with the portrayal of the electronic/mechanical bird.

Nightingale, Emperor & the kitchen maid (Photo taken from SRT’s Facebook page)

The musical is sprinkled with humour (Ellery found it very funny how the Lord Protector didn’t know his animals sounds), but it’s also quite moving. You feel sad for the bird when she loses her song, and happy for the Emperor when he discovers the joy of freedom and true friendship. And the Nightingale’s song itself is very moving. When I asked Asher what he liked he mentioned the Nightingale’s song and said it had made him almost want to cry!

The Nightingale is a top notch children’s performance that’s a visual treat with a great cast and great songs. Definitely a must watch!

It’s on until 14 Sep 2014 at the DBS Arts Centre. It is also showing in Mandarin from 18 Sep to 11 Oct. Tickets are available at SISTIC.

 

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We were given complimentary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

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It was the aBsoLutEly BesTesT way to spend our Sunday afternoon!

We trotted off to watch Charlie and Lola’s Extremely NEW play at the DBS Arts Centre on day 2 of my freedom from confinement.  It’s a ReaLLy WoNderFully charming play that warms your insides.

Charlie & Lola's Extremely New Play

Journeying through the four seasons, the ever patient and gentle Charlie helps Lola to see things from a different perspective and lifts her spirits at the same time. It’s always sweet to see how much he cares for her and wants to make her happy, whether it’s ensuring she creates a wonderful piece of autumn art, making her happy with her role in the school play, or playing with her when she thought Lotta didn’t like her anymore. Charlie is the older brother every sister wishes she had!

I tRuLy and coMplEteLy loved the cleverly designed set.  Deceptively simple looking, it incorporated little hideaways for all kinds of props to transform the stage from one season to the next, and even brought you into the imaginations of Charlie and Lola – just like in the stories.  The boys were amazed when the backdrop became the hulls of Charlie and Marv’s pirate ship, and I particularly liked seeing Sizzles the dog do all kinds of crazy things just because in Lola’s mind he can do anything!

The toTaLly maRveLously nice props stayed true to the style of the books too, which was a real plus for me. The only thing that made the boys a little confused was why they could hear the characters talking when the puppet’s and puppeteer’s mouths were not moving :) (The play used recordings of the same voices you hear on the TV series.)

(Photo taken from Honeykids)

Coming on the back of exTremEly A Lot of squabbles between the boys, I took the chance to point out how Charlie and Lola cared for each other, spoke nicely to one another, and tried to make each other happy. I also milked it further by telling the boys they can be good older brothers to Alyssa too, just like how Charlie was with Lola. They took the bait and started rattling off all kinds of things they will do for Alyssa.  Score! (Of course it’ll be a while before we see it in practice…)

A sweet play that touches on themes of friendship, unexpected changes, disappointments, and love,  I’m VeRy coMpLetELy sure you and your kids will enjoy it too!

The show runs until 15 Jun and tickets are available from SISTIC.

Tata, I’m off for some pink milk!

A cute picture of Charlie and Lola doing the tourist bit in Singapore (Photo taken from the Charlie & Lola Facebook page)

 

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

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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.

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

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