I was invited to the World Premiere and Gala Night for Singapura: The Musical, held at the Capitol Theatre last weekend.
Here are my comments on the show.
Tells the story of post-war Singapore
This musical – the first show to be staged at the refurbished Capitol Theatre – tells the story of post-war Singapore and takes audiences from the tumultuous years of the 1950s through to Independence, through the eyes of a Chinese Singaporean family.
During the show time of two and a half hours, it touches on several major events in Singapore’s short history throughout that historical era. These include the Hock Lee Bus Riots, the union of Singapore and Malaysia, the 1964 Race Riots and finally, Singapore’s independence in 1965.
And at the same time, there is also the tragic love triangle between a Singaporean girl, a British soldier and a Malay boy, weaved into the historical plot – to give audiences something to root for.
Large amount of content to be covered within two and a half hours
Having grown up in Singapore and being familiar with local history through my secondary school days, I felt that I could follow the main gist of what was happening throughout the story without much difficulty – even though I’ve heard from others who say that there’s a little bit too much content to digest in a short two and a half hours’ show. However, for most Singaporeans, who have either grown up with or studied our island nation’s short history, they would understand what the show was trying to depict – in terms of Singapore’s history.
But to cater to non-Singaporean audiences when the show makes its way to global markets, there could probably be more explanation on the background behind the story, perhaps in the programme or in the narration.
Musical tunes were catchy
For all musicals, the music itself is also important too, besides the story. And I particularly enjoyed the music in the show. The songs, all composed by the show’s creator Ed Gatchalian, were very catchy and depicted the mood of the scenes well and most continued to ring in my head after I had left the theatre.
Some of the particularly notable tunes had included “At the Kopitiam”, “Another Day in Singapore” and “Be With Me.”
Simple costumes and props to reflect the era
The costumes and props featured in this musical were kept simple and there was nothing too elaborate – in order to reflect the era. For example, props included simple tables, chairs and resemblances of HDB style houses, while costumes included basic blouses, pants and skirts. As such, I had thought that this had stayed pretty true to what Singaporeans wore, during that era.
A decent effort to fit Singapore’s history into a single show
Overall, I thought that this was a rather decent effort to get such a large amount of Singapore’s history into a single two and a half hour show and kudos to the team at 4th Wall Theatre Co. for their efforts in doing so.
Singapura: The Musical will be held at the Capitol Theatre from now till June 7 and tickets are priced from $65. Check out their website at www.singapurathemusical.com for more details and to make bookings.
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