Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mid Autumn Festival lightup at Chinatown

This year's Mid Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) lights are up at Eu Tong Sen Street.  The Mid Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month of the Chinese calendar.

There are not many specific places celebrating the Festival in Singapore.  Besides the light up along Eu Tong Sen Street, the other place would be the Chinese Garden in Jurong.

The decorations are generally beautiful to look at.  It would be great if the buildings along the street could be lighted up so as to create the right festive mood. These photos were taken around 10 pm and you can see that the area looked rather deserted.

Moon Cake and lantern time.....

Bubble Magic - Pep Bou's Wonderful World of Bubbles

Direct from a Europe wide tour, Bubble Magic - Pep Bou's Wonderful World of Bubbles created by award winning bubble whizz, Pep Bou will open in Singapore for the first time in Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel from 9 -14 September 2014.

Audiences can look forward to crazy clowning, fun that would be incorporated with beautiful and wonder filled bubbles. Surprises such as fishbowl bubbles, animal bubbles, sliding bubbles, puppet bubbles and even a train inside a bubble tunnel will be created by the two cast members in this show of magical illusions for all people of all ages. This show is also a blend of visual poetry and sheer fun.

On a deeper level, Bubble Magic explores the change of perspective people experience when they start to work together instead of living life in isolation. The two characters meet in a strange unfamiliar world, living in fear of the unknown.  But soon, working with the daily elements of reality:  water, soap, tubes, circles and smoke machines, they begin to appreciate the beauty of everything  around them and change their outlook towards each other and life. They become aware of their ability to transform reality and the benefits of working with other people.

Tickets are available at SISTIC.

Potted Potter: Seven Harry Potter books into seventy hilarious minutes on stagejnm

After a successful 2012 season in Singapore, POTTED POTTER would be making a magical return to Singapore at the Jubilee Hall at Raffles Hotel from 9 to 14 September for 10 shows only.  Tickets are on sale now at SISTIC.

In 70 minutes, POTTED POTTER takes on the ultimate challenge of telling the story of Harry Potter which will feature all the favourite characters, a special appearance from a fire-breathing dragon, endless costumes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic!

Clarkson and Turner first created POTTED POTTER in 2005 for an appearance at a London bookshop, as a five-minute entertainment for fans awaiting the release of the sixth book in the series.  The show grew from there into a full-length stage production, first seen at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2006, and has since played at the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Comedy Festival and New Zealand Comedy Festival in 2009.

“Fabulously Funny! Will tickle the funny bone of every age group.”
The London Daily Telegraph

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Singapore Garden Festival at the Garden By the Bay

This was my first Singapore Garden Festival, which used to be at Suntec and now moved to Garden By the Bay this year. I also took the opportunity to visit the Flower Dome, where the orchid display was held.  On a weekday, there were many local and foreign visitors, including school groups.

There was a queue to enter the orchid exhibition area but fortunately we did not have to wait long. One suggestion to the organiser would be to spread out the displays as it was rather cramped inside. The orchids were of different varieties and beautiful to look at.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Rock of Ages: Mindless fun with 80s Rock Music

A tribute the 80s rock and roll songs, Rock of Ages weaved in these hits into.a simple story of a boy and a girl seeking their dreams in a big city.  Along the way, both made sacrifices in their artistic choices and their personal relationship.  On that of that, a well known rock venue was to be demolished by greedy developer.

The plot was simple and camp at times, with second half of the production much better than the first.  What made this fun was the creators' ability to laugh at themselves, as shown in the scenes during the second Act.

The cast were competent, most of them seemed to be Broadway performers than rock singers.  The main focus of this production would definitely be the music.  We were reminded of those 80s gems such as Styx's Too Much Time On My Hand, Starship's We Build This City, Reo Speedwagon's Keep on Loving You etc.  Personally, I preferred  the songs to be performed in full rather than meshed up versions.

Overall, I had a good time at the performance.  The second half saved this production.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Cavalia: The beauty of horses and equestrian arts

Entering the white tent, I thought that we would be seated in a round, as in most circus performances.  As shown in the photo, we have a proper stage setting.  While waiting for the show to start, we were quizzed on the production Cavalia, in particular on the horses.  This proved to be both entertaining and educational to the audience.

The initial entry of the horses drew gasps and wows from the audience, and it would be the most common reaction from the audience throughout the show.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Dick Lee's Hotpants: Good revival for the 2014 audience

A restaging of Dick Lee's musical first performed in 1997, the 1970s-themed Hotpants was about 3 schoolgirls forming a group to compete in their school's talentime.  Through this event, they went through their own self discovery - boy-girl relationship, hopes and betrayal.   At the same time, their mothers, who were reunited through the girls' activities and were once schoolmates, were having their own bit of fun....

Hotpants did not seem dated and related well to the current audience.  I did not know if Dick Lee made any changes to the original script; for this production the plot was relatively tight and straightforward.  There were witty lines and catchy songs, in the same mould as Beauty World, another musical of Dick Lee.    While the main focus was on the 3 girls, it was the part on the mothers which was more interesting.   There were some plot twists in the second half but unfortunately it was not fully developed.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Margaret Leng Tan: Cage - Kaprow - Fluxus

I always approach modern music with apprehension.  The concert by Margaret Leng Tan was no exception.   We had Margaret Leng Tan playing John Cage's 4' 33" on toy piano, and Music for Amplified Toy Pianos.    Some pieces were more performance art to me, such as George Brecht's 5 event scores where not much music was performed.  Another piece Dick Higgins's Danger Music no 17 (Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream!), just involved, literally, screaming.  One scream was aiming at the street.

But it was a joy watching Margaret Leng Tan in concert.  She seemed to be having fun.  She would be back for the 2015 Singapore International Festival of Arts main programme and let's see what she could come up with.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Michael Nyman's Facing Goya: Science Lesson at Singapore International Festival of Arts

A modern opera as the opening performance for the reboot of Singapore International Festival of Arts, formerly known as the Singapore Arts Festival.

The topic of neuroscience and cloning may be interesting in the year 2000, where Dolly the cloned sheep took the world by storm.  But the ethics of cloning is not new to us - there were sci-fi movies galore telling us the pitfalls of human cloning.  At slightly over 2 hours with an intermission, the opera still seemed long to me.  This was partly due to the plot not moving forward much, and I just did not appreciate the libretto by Victoria Hardie.

On the plus side, the score by Michael Nyman was generally enjoyable for a contemporary opera, with beautiful moments at the end of first half.  Director Ong Keng Sen was able to keep the pace going, utilising the actors well and incorporating the appropriate multimedia imagery.  In addition to being good singers, the cast of 5 were able to portray the right emotions for the various roles they took on.

While I did not get excited about this production, I still enjoyed certain moments of it.

This was also my first time at the refurbished Victoria Theatre.  The seating capacity had been reduced greatly and the stage had become smaller.  I still missed the old Victoria Theatre.  While it may be lacking in modern staging facilities, it would still be an ideal venue for mid-sized performances.  I doubt the new Victoria Theatre could stage any decent dance performances.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Teahouse and Roaring Good Times!

It was pleasant surprise to see young Singaporeans putting up a good showing in The Teahouse, a cross talk play staged at the Drama Centre in July.  The title of the performance must have modeled after the well known chinese play

A difficult art form, but the young performers from Young People's Performing Arts Ensemble were well rehearsed.  There was hope for Chinese theatre in Singapore.

The youths next took the stage in August for Roaring Good Times! 7.  More assured performances from the older brothers and sisters definitely.  We were also treated to an item by two well known xiang sheng (相声) performers Gen Qiang and Gen Dian Sheng (耿强,耿殿生)

To me, the scripts for cross talk tend to be dated and at times fit awkwardly in contemporary setting.  Fortunately, the script writers managed to keep the skits relevant to current audience.

Good effort from the company and the young performers.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Cavalia: Slowly but surely, the tent rises....

Those who passed by the Marina Bay Front area recently would notice a big structure coming up next to the Marina Bay Sands.

This is the giant tent for the production Cavalia, opening on 12 Aug 2014.

The hardworking crew getting it up on time for the performance.  Looking forward to the performance.