Stepping into ANGKAT is like entering another world that seems almost close to home, but not quite. A couple leisurely glides along in a sampan, a man fishes while standing on top of a stool, and a child sits under an umbrella. The backdrop is lit in a luminous purple colour, bathing the cast with a twilight glow. As such, the world of ANGKAT submerges the familiar with the imaginative. Playing with fact and fiction, ANGKAT’s take on the Singapore story is definitive, maybe.
John Berger and Jean Mohr’s essay-book A Fortunate Man was published in 1967. It follows the life of an English country doctor, John Sassall, who killed himself some years after the book was published. More than 50 years later, UK theatre company New Perspective takes on this tale in a play of the same name.
Mammia mia! Why do certain reviews of MAMMA MIA! contain snippets that sound similar to a glitzy press release? A “wild and splashing summer island party complete with…super catchy tunes we couldn’t help but sing along to.” Well, yes…of course?
Yet, MAMMA MIA! does beget such superficial responses. There is nothing wrong with flamboyant numbers and extravagant costumes. Watching big musicals is fun! But Chiquitita, you and I know, musicals can aspire to be more than just light entertainment. The Lion King explores familial love and Wicked! tackles female friendships. MAMMA MIA! has ABBA songs that er, looks at both? To its benefit, MAMMA MIA! does take small strides in poking fun at sexism, with the female-led “Does Your Mother Know” sounding less predatory. But perhaps it is too much to ask for a flashy musical to dismantle the patriarchy.
It is impossible to ignore what MAMMA MIA! really is: a musical medley of ABBA hits, with a semblance of a plot somewhere. But just having your mum sing along to “Waterloo” with fellow aunties is worth the ticket price itself. The musical truly is fun for the whole family.
This review is based on the performance on 17 November 2018. Mamma Mia! ran from 3-18 November at Marina Bay Sands Theatre.
This play’s title is misleading. There are no dramatisations of wartime history; no political assertions of any sort. The only reference to the play’s title is minor, but it is, of course, about love.
The Reunification of Two Koreas comprises of twenty short scenes that explores love. The scenes are disparate but love pulses through the characters’ veins: from an unfolding wedding drama to a sex worker haggling for money. All these individuals are bound by a sad, painful love, that kind of love that hurts. It is called a crush for a reason. The play successfully evokes the reality of love that torments and teases, that both embraces you and stamps on your heart. Admittedly at times, the 2.5 hour runtime does feel long, particularly when some scenes are less effective than others (there are only so many variations of how a partner can leave you). Yet, the cast is enthralling, particularly Timothy Ng as a bumbling groomsman and Umi Kalthum Ismail as a discouraging girlfriend. The Reunification of Two Koreas explores how love breathes life—or in particular, death—into relationships. The play’s disjointed narrative can be erratic, but love undoubtedly binds these stories together. The characters are doomed to be (or not to be) together forever.