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…

cats SIN1

cats SIN2

cats sin3

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…

phantom sin

March 24, 2018

Miss Saigon on Broadway, New York… pretty schmaltzy

Miss Saigon is back in New York. Known as “the musical with the helicopter,” it’s a tale of   doomed love affair between a young Vietnamese woman and an American GI in the last days of the Vietnam War. I am one of a whole new generation of theatregoers who never saw it during its run 20 years ago, and jumped at the chance to see it now.

Much of those songs are sweeping, melodramatic ballads. The likable and undeniably talented Philippines actor Jon Jon Briones, the show’s slimy pimp known as the Engineer is equally contemptible and charming. He delivered the stunning upbeat ‘American Dream’ number to perfection. He even threw in a joke about making America great again (something that surely wasn’t in the original script).

I can’t say I was deeply moved. Still, it’s a pretty schmaltzy show. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

miss saigon ny

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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