I just read in the local broadsheet newspapers printed on 21 July (yes, I am catching up on my readings from my Hokkaido trip) which quoted lead actor Adrain Pang as saying, “I just hope that when it comes together, it will, at a very fundamental level, be a good piece of entertainment.”
He must be pleased to know that my party of 13, ranging from 8 to 72, found it indeed to be a very good piece of entertainment, and very educational as well for the younger ones who had not studied Singapore history.
An entertaining piece of musical should have a well-written script, catchy songs, elaborate staging and interesting costume, which this musical passed in a few counts. Reproducing a period of Singapore history on stage over 26 years is no mean feats and I applaud the team for achieving it. The stage is compartmentalized into nine-grids, with doors which open up into separate scenes, dispensing with distracting scene changes, vital for not breaking the pace. The doors also serve as screens for video projection for facades of buildings and scenes.
This musical, tracing Singapore’s founding father, LKY, as he graduated from RI ( Auspicium Melioris Aevi) until Singapore’s independence, is made up of an all male cast except for Sharon Au, acting as Mrs Lee. We speculated that she was selected for her skinny physique which fitted her into Cheongsums which Mrs Lee was often seen in. For she paled in both singing and acting as compared to the rest of the cast. (Which other actress could have been chosen? Kit Chan was widely picked by social media but she is too big framed for the role, I feel.)
Adrain Pang made that role his. Credit to him, we see LKY, the protagonist in the musical rather than the real man we awe. Sebastian Tan, best know as Broadway Beng, now acting as trishaw rider Koh Teong Koo, provided the laughs with his Hokkien. Benjamin Chow’s stood out in his role as Communist Lim Chin Siong. In fact, the musical is more about these two men than LKY and Mrs Lee.
It’s been a long while since I saw a local English musical and Dick Lee should strive to be Singapore’s Andrew Lloyd Webber, for I have enjoyed most of his musicals since Beauty World.
If you have not seen the musical, you should. For it’s not often you get to watch a muscial at MBS for below S$100 sitting right in front. That aside, it is a good way to spend an entertaining evening.