Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Hari Raya Lightup 2015 at Geylang Serai

How time flies, Ramadan came and gone.  Last Wednesday, I made a quick visit to Geylang Serai to look at the street decorations along Changi Road and Sims Avenue.

It was crowded on the road and along the pavements as many were doing last minute shopping.  The lights were bright but somehow they looked similar to last year's.  Hopefully we could new lighting design next year.

And the stores were doing brisk business....

See Hari Raya Lightup 2014Hari Raya Lightup 2011

Monday, 20 July 2015

From SG50 Sing-Along to Deng Zhi Hao 邓志浩 concert

On 2 consecutive Saturdays, I attended 2 Chinese music concerts.

As the name suggested, SG50 Sing-Along was a massive karaoke session featuring mainly Chinese songs over the past few decades, led by UFM radio presenters.   The attractive part of this concert, to me, was watching veteran singers like Huang Qing Yuan黄清元, Zhuang Xue Fang 庄雪芳, Maggie Teng 邓妙华performed for the first time, in addition to Roy Li Fei Hui and Jimmy Ye.  It's a pity that most of them only performed one song - could they also lead in some singalong?

The selection of songs was rather mish-mash: ranging from foreign folk songs, local and foreign pop hits, our campaign and Sing Singapore songs.  As a SG50 event, maybe a purely local-composition evening?  We definitely have enough local hits to sustain the whole evening.

The anti-climax part of the concert would be the singing by the various company bosses.  Knowing the fact that they were not professional singers, there would be a need to enhance the presentation of these items.

From a 10,000 seating capacity event to a 100 only intimate concert,  Taiwanese singer Deng Zhi Hao charmed the audience at Blackearth Museum in Joo Chiat on 18 July.  Catching his performance again after 20 years, Deng Zhi Hao still sounded as good as he was at his concert at Thian Hock Kheng Temple.  He was still as chatty as before, and this time round, he shared with audience the secret of getting old.

He sounded good with his acoustic set, and not those with accompanied orchestra track.

The concert also featured guest singer, local Xinyao musician Wong Hong Mok. Both of them blended well and they received warm applause from the audience.

An enjoyable concert overall.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Singin’ in the Rain Review


This is a good staging of the musical, based on the 1952 movie  made famous by Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.  Set in 1927, it tells the story of the transition of the movie industry moving from "silent" to "talkies".   This old school musical feature tunes such as Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh, Moses Supposes and of course the famous dance sequence Singin’ in the Rain.

Production wise, the set design, the costume and the Singing' in the Rain sequence were of high standard.  The staging of certain scenes, in particular the making of the "talkies", were quite funny.

Duane Alexander played the lead role of Don Lockwood, the silent movie star.  While he played the part admirably, he lacked the aura of a movie star for the role. Bethany Dickson sang well in her role of chorus girl Kathy Selden, the love interest of Don Lockwood and a star in making.  Taryn-Lee Hudson shone as Lina Lamont, the silent movie actress who had a shrieking voice.   While she was the "villain" in the story, audience enjoyed the comic moments by her.

Taking the production as a whole, Singin' in the Rain is an entertaining production.  While the storyline may be a bit dated to the contemporary audience, the show has enough substance and spectacle to capture our interest and imagination.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

GoLi - Bringing theatre to the community

A large goli-shaped (marble) structure greeted me when I arrived at the field next to NEX shopping mall on 4 July.  This was the community / forum theatre project initiated by Singapore theatre company Drama Box to bring theatre to the community.  The event also featured various community groups outside the performing area to promote their cause.  

A sizeable crowd, consisting of mostly young people (in the arts?), attended the first presentation of the evening, Real Voices Real Lives by UK company Mind The Gap.  The forum theatre piece explored the society's treatment of people with learning difficulties, featuring actors with the same challenges.  Using a nursery rhyme as a starting, it told the story of these people being abused in public, be it on the bus or by ill-intent people.  The presentation did encourage audience to step up and take on the role of "spect-actors", replaying and changing the situation faced by the protagonists in the initial situation.   While the 3 actors may not be the best in terms of acting, they brought a sense of reality to this presentation.

Queued up for the next presentation, One Employee Two Bosses by Centre for Applied Theatre from Taiwan.  This play touched on labour issues, in particular sub-contract workers.  It was a more polished production in terms of acting and technical aspects, but the scenario took a long time to develop.  Imagine watching a Taiwan soap opera.  There were re-enactment and discussions, but overall it did not engage me that much.

Overall, it was a good initiative by Drama Box in bringing theatre to the community, though I am not sure the presentation of forum theatre would help build up the audience base.  However, I believe that the audience would leave the shows with a better understanding of the issues faced by certain segments of the society.