PEr FYI

October 18, 2015

Beyond the Barricade, Singapore…Only after the interval was I looking on the bright side of life

“Beyond The Barricade”…when I read those words, the first thing that comes to my mind is… Les Miserables. When I got tickets to see Beyond The Barricade I honestly didn’t know what to expect apart from the fact it has something do with Les Mis.

The show stars past principal performers from Les Miserables. I was distanced by the opening numbers, taken from Miss Saigon. I’ve never seen the musical so it didn’t really have enough substance to draw me into the performance. The following choices, the secondary selections from the immortal Phantom of the Opera, was equally nonchalant. The compilation of Juke box musical numbers from We will rock you, Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia were trivial and forgettable. It was not until after the interval when the show really began for me, leaving me happily toe-tapping along. Stands out included the adorable showmanship displayed by Andy Reiss on “Suddenly Seymour” and “Master of the House”, David Fawcett and Rebecca Vere’s humorous and funny rendition of “Song that goes like this” from Spamalot, Katie Leeming’s phenomenal and passionate version of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, Andy Reiss soulful and emotive take on “‘Jesus Christ Superstar” and Rebecca Vere’s gorgeous and melodious performance of “I Dreamed A Dream”. That said, I was truly disappointed in David Fawcett who had been an understudy/cover for Jean Valjean. His introductions to each set of songs were brief yet informative with just the right touch humour but he was also the weakest link of the night with the poorest expression, unstable vocals and singing technique.

This show is a mixed bag that lurches from the sublime to the ridiculous with some uncomfortable moments that mask the genuine talent of the performers. Personally as a seasoned musical theatre-goer I would like to hear these incredible performers sing a better selection of songs. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 5, 2015

Impression West Lake, Hangzhou…visual uniqueness

Impression Westlake is a 1-hour award winning open-air musical extravaganza created by renowned film director, Zhang Yimou on the West Lake of Hangzhou at night. A dazzling light display turns the lake’s natural surroundings into an intricate part of the show. The stage was built 3cm below the water. The performers seem to be walking, running, dancing on the water.

The story is based on the local folklore “The Legend of the White Snake” – one of West Lake’s most famous legends set in the Southern Song Dynasty.

Kitaro, the music director, is still at his best after so many years of magical and glorious musical landscapes. The pieces here are different from his 80’s and 90’s style, but it still has the core elements that he has been using all of this time. The beautiful melodies and themes from impressions west lake were so hauntingly beautiful, it gave me goosebumps listening to it.

The best way to enjoy the show is to simply sit back and absorb it for it’s visual uniqueness. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 1, 2015

The Book of Mormon, The Prince of Wales Theatre, London…I absolutely loved it – albeit slightly guiltily.

Tickets for the foul-mouthed show, are like gold dust. Those who do manage to get a ticket should be ready for blasphemy and profanity by the truckload.

The first surprise is how punchingly good the music is….with much bounce, bite and colour. The music and lyrics are by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, best known for the animated comedy series South Park. The show had me at “Hello,” the first word of the first song in this long-running musical….and trust me, you’ll never see The Lion King the same way after you hear Hasa Diga Eeobowai

In terms of risky content, “The Book of Mormon” makes the Monty Python boys look like they were writing the Acts of the Apostles. The show is a classic fish-out-of-water and odd-couple buddy tale of cultural exchange: Two squeaky-clean missionaries from the Church of Latter-Day Saints are sent from Utah to an Aids-ridden Ugandan village to  convert the locals. From AIDS to Jesus to Yoda, nothing is off limits.

Let’s end by being clear that the show, hilarious as it undeniably is, is offensive in the traditional sense of the word: Four-letter words; sex jokes; sacrilege. But it’s only offensive because it wants to offend you. I absolutely loved it – albeit slightly guiltily. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 19, 2011

Jersey Boys, Palazzo, Las Vegas…not the music I grew up with, yet I enjoyed the show immensely

The Palazzo Resort has its own special theater (it was a nice small theater with good seats) for this great show which traces the history of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from their simple beginnings in New Jersey, to becoming one of the top pop groups of the 1960’s, to their inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The show starts out VERY slow but gets better over time. The time-tested music and songs are infectious. The outstanding lead singer gave 100% and sounded exactly like Frankie Valli. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the Four Seasons or that musical era they represent, you’ll still enjoy the show’s rags to riches storyline which has a fair share of drama, and enough humour and uplift to satisfy both the theater veteran and the vacationing family (with a mild warning for some salty, Jersey-esque language)

This isn’t really music that I grew up with, but yet the fact that I enjoyed the show immensely says a lot. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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