There’s always something going on with the kids’ theatre scene in Singapore. Here are our top picks of shows that are worth the effort this April!
There’s an interesting mix of shows across Singapore’s stages this month, for all ages and all tastes. From exciting new work by local companies to Broadway greats being flown in; fun, familiar tales for little ones; to more challenging tales for mamas up for something a bit more daring than the norm! Having hunted, explored and delved into all that’s out there, here’s a roundup of what’s we think’s ‘worth the effort’ and why! Whatever you decide to see, mamas, enjoy!
This show sounds really intriguing. Although busking isn’t a huge thing in Singapore as compared to cities likeLondon, Sydney or New York, Stanley Seah has always been fascinated by the performers of the craft here, so much so he was inspired to create a show about it.
Stanley is the Associate Artistic Director of The Toy Factory, a theatre company which produces some really interesting and creative work (watch out for its next one, A Dream Under the Southern Bough: Reverie at SIFA in May). He believes that buskers are “the bravest of artist”: they perform with huge passion, talent and gusto but, unlike a ticked event, without any guarantee of an audience.
He decided to mix the style and craft of busking with theatre, using buskers themselves but interweaving tales of their lives through their performance, creating a sophisticated and classy sounding cabaret style mix.
This weekend audiences will be introduced to Yee Kien, a Mathematics & Economics student at SIM. He busks simply for the absolute love of it! And whilst he has no plans to become a musician, despite what Stanley describes as “alarming talent”, fortunately for all of us, he has no plans to stop busking either!
When: 5 – 13 April 2019
Timings: 3pm and 7:30pm
Where: NOW playing@17A, 17A Smith Street, Singapore 058931
How much: $20 for tickets; click here to purchase!
Best for: 12+ (slightly older kids looking for a different night out with their parents)
The Truth is SRT’s first show of the year – well for adults, that is, the little ones have already had the joy of Gretel and Hansel, which we mentioned in our top picks last month. But it was such fun, if you haven’t been already been we thought we should give you a little nudge again as it’s still on this month, too!
But back to The Truth…This is a punchy, risky show about two unfaithful couples. But, despite that, it is a comedy and looks set to be a total giggle!
Not wanting to give too much away (there are twists and turns throughout which will keep everyone guessing), the show’s director confided in us that despite the ‘slightly naughty’ subject matter, it’s not really riskier than real life and he thinks everyone will relate to it in some shape or form! But what he enjoys most are the moments when “one can’t decide whether the lie or the truth is preferable.”
Written originally in a Parisian setting by the hugely talented Florian Zeller (audiences here may be familiar with his work as he also wrote The Father, staged by Pangdemonium just last year), it has been translated “pitch perfectly” by Christopher Hampton into English. And when it opened in London last year it was a major hit, described by The Guardian as a “devious must see!”
It will be fascinating to see how it translates in Singapore but, however it goes, it looks set to be a fun night out at the theatre. It’s probably not one for the whole family, but it’s definitely something for a group of friends. But go pre-warned…it could lead to some entertaining discussions and debates afterwards!
When: 5 -20 April
Timings: 4pm, 8pm check out link for more details
Where: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT, 20 Merbau Road, Singapore 239035
How much: $45-60; click here to purchase tickets.
Best for: Mamas looking for a fun night out
Throughout April, the Esplanade hosts a series called The Studios, showcasing new and contemporary theatre pieces created by Singaporean artists that challenge and prod, often in surprising places! It’s theatre to make you sit up and think, it’s not always easy and comfortable, but definitely something to make the time to see if you fancy being provoked, inspired and challenged.
The first up this month is Miss British. According to its creators, The Art of Strangers, the show “excavates the prejudices and social hierarchies left behind by colonialism across the planet.” They interweave theatre, dance, and video installation in a quest to explore its meaning; “a voyage across the oceans of our shared pasts.” The promotional video is rather beautiful and enticingly poetic; there’s no mistaking the strong artistic and creative vibe to it all.
Following Miss British, there are two others in the series that are worth checking out, too, particularly if you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated and artistically pushy than the conventional norm. There’s Mergers and Accusations about a couple who seem to have it all, until a third person comes on the scene. And My Grandfather’s Road (RHDS) is a beautiful sounding tale about family and memories, along with the importance and fragility of storytelling.
When: 4-7 April
Timings: 8pm and 3pm
Where: Esplanade Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
How much: $35; click here to purchase tickets.
Best for: 16 and up
Yes, mamas, one of the biggies is back in town! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom needs little introduction, in fact I’m not sure there is a soul on the planet who doesn’t know what it’s about!
Having first hit London’s West End back in 1986, the show now boasts over 70 major theatre accolades, including four Olivier Awards and seven Tonys. It’s also the longest running show in Broadway history, having been there for over 30 years, and the second longest on the West End, being pipped to the post by Les Misérables. The Times described it as ‘Gods Gift to Musical Theatre!’ and with the lavish sets and the musical numbers that I expect we can all hum along too (perhaps without even realising it!) it’s not hard to see why!
This is also a show for the whole family (well, maybe not really little ones, but those aged about 10 and up anyway). I actually discovered a website where children aged between 10 and 15 had reviewed it and they loved it, giving it 4 and 5 stars all round! The violence is nothing close to what they are exposed to on video games and YouTube these days, so there’s little to worry about there. Probably the most alarming part for them will be the on stage ‘romance’ – that’s certainly the only time I can imagine mine shutting their eyes!
So, if you have kids who are interested in musicals and theatre, take them along with you! Even if they’re not, with all the lavish praise this show has received, they may become converts! Saying that, the tickets aren’t cheap, so it could be quite a pricey gamble, but I think it’s one of those ‘spectaculars’ that if you get a chance to go to, then do it!
When: 24 April – 8 June
Timings: Various, see link below for more details
Where: Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
How much: From $75; click here to purchase tickets.
Best for: Ages 10+
There’s something so special about sharing stories you remember loving as a child with your own children. Watching their faces light up as you turn the familiar pages; a surge of nostalgia mixed with love can make you tingle all over!
Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar has to be up there as one of the best bedtimes stories ever. I loved tracing the caterpillar’s trail, munching through leaves, plums, ice cream and more, and watching him turn magically into a butterfly. I used to beg my mum to read it over and over again and so when mine did the same back to me, I happily obliged.
Fortunately for children now, not only can they enjoy the story as a book but they can also see the caterpillar on stage too! It’s coming to Singapore all the way from Canada and looks set to be as magical as ever. There are also other children’s character from Eric Carle’s imagination, the Little Cloud and the Mixed Up Chameleon, making an appearance on stage with that greedy caterpillar, too.
I can only imagine the squeaks and squeals of delight as the story plays out. I’m contemplating bribing my youngest, who’s 12, to come with me…although I imagine I may struggle. If you’re lucky enough to have one who’s young enough to want to go, to say I’m green with envy would be an understatement!
When: 30 April – 12 May
Timings: Various, check link
Where: Victoria Theatre, 9 Empress Place, Singapore 179556
How much: $18-$48; click here to purchase tickets.
Best for: 1 to 6 year olds