It was a nice surprise when my old friend P messaged me about buying tickets for this musical. (Yes, I am the official bookie for my friends for concerts, musicals, shows, etc.) She is a friend of 梁文福 Ling Wen Fook, the composer of ALL the songs on which the musical was based and he had messaged her about it. It would be her second time viewing the show and my third. But I was excited. I had enjoyed both the first and second shows in 2007 and 2009 (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/%E5%A4%A9%E5%86%B7%E5%B0%B1%E5%9B%9E%E6%9D%A5/) respectively, and now, even after watching it for the third time, I wouldn’t mind going to watch it again. After all, some people actually watched the movie Titanic 100 times, so why not me for this as well? When Aaron heard the CD playing again for the tenth times on Saturday, he finally asked me about the show and I grabbed the chance to invite him to watch with me again. He declined. 😦
The third, or is it second, encore reunites George Chan田伟鸿 and Joanna Dong as the main lead. This is a story of a Singaporean songwriter Ah Le, grieving for his departed love, Xiao Jing, ventures to New York in early 2000s (deduced from the Nokia flip phones the actors were using on stage) and meets the Singaporeans staying in New York, most of whom are there to try out for the music scene in Broadway. He meets patriarch of the group, Uncle Chen (Lim Kay Siu) and falls in love with actress Rose, who has to choose between him and sleeping with the producer to get a part. On the side is a story of Ah Qiang, who is grieving for his married gay lover of the same name.
Having watched the show for the third time has its benefits. I can look forward to the scenes I like, and there is the occasional surprise at some parts I had forgotten. Although Liang, whom I met after the show told us that they had made some changes, I couldn’t tell but it made no difference to me. I enjoyed the show then and enjoyed the show on Saturday. I especially like George Chan in the role of Ah Le. Even though it’s been seven years since he first played the part, there was still the playful edgy young man that A Le was when I was first introduced to him in 2007. His lovely voice brought out the best of Liang’s songs.
For a Chinese musicals, the show is supported by a crew more comfortable with English. Credit must be given to Lim Kay Siu’s attempt at speaking Chinese and even singing the theme song, 天冷就回来. His predecessor, Mr Lim Shieh Yih, a trained tenor and a veteran in Chinese theatre, passed away in 2012 but I think Lim nevertheless did the role of Uncle Chen justice. As the generation of xinyao are mostly educated with English as first language, there was subtitles for the musicals and even the program booklet is bilingual. That’s the uniqueness of Singapore shows.
If there is something unsatisfactory about the show for me, it is that some songs that I don’t particularly fancy are given the full version while those I like were only sung in snippets. Yes, I admit I attend the show mostly to listen to the songs and it’s good to be given a context to the songs. So now when I hear the songs on CD, I can picture the scenes from the musical.
If you have not watched the musical, even if not a fan of xinyao, don’t miss it still. For this may be their last production for this show.
(While taking a photo for me, my sister-in-law Wei blurted out to George Chan, 你好帅 (You are so handsome).He replied good naturely: it’s my make-up.)
(With Liang Wen Fook 梁文福.)