PEr FYI

February 29, 2020

Cats, Singapore…Too slow, too tame, too threadbare

Filed under: Activities, Entertainment, Musical, Singapore, theatre — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 4:42 pm

From the moment I bought the tickets, I was filled with regret, thinking this musical is going to be hideously dated, boring, empty, meaningless, unfunny. For the entirety of the two hours I sat watching Cats, there’s no plot and no apparent point, but I travelled home afterwards humming the one tune – Memory.

Although the anthropomorphised felines, in their spandex leotards and furry leg warmers, prowl the aisles and glare in the eyes of the punters but somehow the show, with its trademark junkyard set, does not feel like an immersive experience. Whilst the music sometimes jarred a little, the choreography of this production was spectacular. However, there was several songs that turned out to be pleasant surprises

Cats is a musical unlike any other. If you are looking for more traditional West End or Broadway music and a clear plot, you perhaps ought to go elsewhere.

The “memory” lives again. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 2, 2020

Disney Magic of Animation The Exhibition, Singapore…it tells a story

There is  much to admire here. Disney’s drive, the museum demonstrates, was relentless. Having mastered the basics of animation in the ’20s, Disney kept pushing at the possibilities.

Disney entered a new era with his first sound cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” the third starring Mickey Mouse. We take it for granted now, but at the time the work meant selecting an expensive technology, developing a technique for coordinating music and image, and convincing distributors the cost was worth it. Nothing about it was easy. By the time he created his first feature-length work, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” he had transformed the very notion of animation. Other exhibits cover the war years and postwar animation movies

Disney lovers, rejoice! The exhibition is almost leisurely in relating its narrative, and while children will quickly pass by many sections that will fascinate their elders, there are more than enough thrills for everyone.

This just may just be the happiest place in Singapore. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 1, 2020

The Cher Show, New York City…a mixed bag

If you grew up on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in the mid-’70s, like I did, there is probably nothing I could write here that would keep you away from The Cher Show.

There were too many character arcs and agendas to serve — three Chers, several careers, 35 songs. All the songs were there – “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”, “If I could turn back time,” “Believe” – it’s impossible not to karaoke along. Stephanie J. Block’s spectacularly commanding performance – her take on Cher – goes beyond impersonation into respectful homage, and while the vocal likeness is uncanny. We get to witness all of Cher’s struggles and triumphs, but are not especially moved by them. Unlike Mamma Mia, the songs rarely tell the story. The costumes are simply sensational, ranging from the nostalgia trippiness of the 1960s to the famous feathered get-up of the 1986 Oscars. This, to me is just a fancy but empty jukebox musical.

I’m still left wondering what The Cher Show is exactly. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 5, 2019

La Favela, Bali…get there

Nightlife can take many forms, but for Balinese and visitors looking to let off a little steam, nothing quite does the job like a night at La Favela.

The setup: There are semi-indoor gardens, artificial waterfalls and ponds, alfresco tables and chairs. Indoors the interior design is really amazing, a real work of art where antique furniture lines its floors, plants seem to be (artfully) overgrown and even old bikes and a Volkswagen van rounds off the appearance. There are cosy, intimate spaces that will have everyone spilling secrets within the hour.

Will I fit in? This is a night out for anyone and everyone, so the crowd is a real mixed bag. Oh, and more beautiful people than at a Victoria Secret’s casting. A word of advice, though: you will probably feel most at home here if you aren’t too far past your early twenties.

La Favela does a fantastic job of setting itself apart from the rest of the spots in Bali. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 14, 2019

Potato Head, Bali…the place to see and be seen

Bali has long been famous as a playground for both the rich and the not-so-rich, easily providing both villas and backpacker hostels so that visitors can enjoy its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters whatever their budget.

Seminyak is by no means the most picturesque part of Bali, but if you’re looking for a place with plenty of bustle, Potato Head should do the trick. It is a big draw for Pretty Young Things who want to party.

Nothing says you’re in Bali quite like having a pizza and drinking a mojito in Potato Head. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 4, 2019

Phantom of the Opera, Singapore…still awesome spectacle after all these years

It has been more than 15 years since I first saw, and was not particularly entranced by, “The Phantom of the Opera,” the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that has been playing for more than 33 years (longest-running show in Broadway and the West End history!) and grossed $6 billion dollars worldwide (more than any other musical or even, gasp, movie!). But after watching it for the third time, I am made to love the lush, romantic, string-filled songs, the effect is offset by the comic jauntiness of Prima Donna or the pavane-like stateliness of Masquerade with neat lyrics (‘Masquerade-paper faces on parade,’)

The score, story, and visual wonders of this grandest of all current Broadway musicals,  the intoxicating power of songs such as “The Music of the Night” and the thunderous title number remains irresistible. The design is a heady barrage of ravishing costumes and lavish sets that change frequently, working in everything even to a descent into the underworld via a tilting bridge that leads to a candle-filled lake. No one can ever say that they’re not getting their money’s worth from this ticket.

There are musicals and musicals—and then there is the incomparable Phantom of the Opera: Awesome in scale. Luscious with melody. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 23, 2019

Sandbox, Singapore…I battled zombies for 30 minutes and it was awesome

If you’ve ever fancied a high adrenaline zombie killing spree with 3 of your best mates, look no further. At sandbox, you can finally find out how you and your friends would fare if you ever found yourself in fighting off rabid, flesh-eating zombies and infectious rats.

Using cutting-edge virtual reality technology, this is a totally unique and immersive experience that will chill you to the bone. With Hyper-Reality it means that this is not just a passive VR journey, where you sit in a chair and get bombarded with visual information that doesn’t match what your body is telling you is happening. When I walk forward in Deadwood Mansion, I actually walk forward. Of course, pictures and words cannot come close to conveying how immersive the whole experience is, you’ll have to try it for yourself. Or you can take my word for it that, thanks to the sensations and blasters and rumble packs, there was a sense of panic as I battled these ghouls and, in particular, something approaching genuine peril as a certain giant monster appears towards the end. I confess I was sincerely relieved when that chapter was done.

A must for your Halloween itinerary, if you’re brave enough of course. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 22, 2018

The Book of Mormon, London…vulgar, offensive but extremely lovable musical

‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Robert ‘Avenue Q’ Lopez are the folks behind this Broadway-munching musical, so brace yourself for a shock.

For me this winner of 9 Tony Awards including Best Musical is the best West End musical in recent times. It’s good-natured poking of fun at all things sacred. Very funny, breathing three-dimensional, all-singing, all-dancing life into the absurdities of literal Mormon dogma without ever being particularly mean. A series of great-to-sublime songs; the lyrics are deliciously witty, and the superb score is packed with catchy melodies.

Be warned: “Mormon” is irreverent, racist, raunchy and profane, and insults just about everyone. You may be ashamed of how much you enjoyed it, but that’s forgivable.

I can give an “Amen” to that. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 16, 2018

IMAX Virtual Reality Centre, Bangkok…the future of arcade games is here

I’m speeding across rocky plains in my Batmobile and then I was battling sinister robots out to wipe out civilisation. Not bad, for a Sunday.

Bangkok’s first full-scale virtual reality arcade, IMEX VR Centre, is an interactive game space filled with 6 VR experiences. It offers customers a chance to battle aliens or robots or simply become Batman, Aquaman or Superman in a 360 degrees experience.

These experiences are pushing against the edges of the technology. It’s hard to let yourself go completely into these other-worlds, given the chunky VR rig strapped to your face and the relatively low resolution and occasionally out-of-focus graphics. The overall feel is simultaneously clunky and awe-inspiring like experiencing a galactic-scale vision and a primitive video game.

The ambition is admirable. The concept is very impressive indeed. All they need now is the games. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 28, 2018

Battlefield Bangkok…amazing geek den

Filed under: Activities, board games, Cafe, Entertainment, games, Thailand, Travel — Tags: , , , — PEr @ 4:36 pm

For what it is, it’s the best. I’d already been to a similar place in another cities and was pleasantly surprised when I came across this one in Bangkok.

Decently large game area for people who’s in for the long haul or just want to enjoy some munchies with their games. More importantly, they have a HUGE amount of games available, of all different types and categories (strategy, memory, team-based, individual, etc. etc. etc.). The staff are super friendly too.

For me, it was flash back to secondary school nerdville. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…
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