Friday, April 30, 2010
The set was simple and static, resembling a barn with zinc sheets as walls. In the centre, a few rows of steps rise up to meet the back wall, on which the seven commandments were scribbled. Animal Farm by W!ldRice is possibly the most physical piece of local theatre you'll ever see. The arched feet, the bent knees and backs, the stiff fingers that resembled pig trotters, head and body jerks reminiscent of fowl behaviour, the shrieks, neighing, barks and clucking. For the cast, this was one place they could behave like animals and get away with it. In fact, animal behaviour is imperative!
Yeo Yann Yann (of 881 and Singapore Dreaming fame) deserves special mention for how hard she worked herself playing Clover the horse. Gani Abdul Karim who played Boxer was convincing as the tireless and diligent workhorse, but the way Yann Yann trotted around the stage the whole show through and kept in character and stance is praiseworthy. I can't remember a time she wasn't on stage. Someone, anyone...please put a trough on stage for her to hydrate herself. Pam Oei was the convincingly conniving righthand pig Squealer, whose squeals made the audience squeal with adoration, but it was Denise Tan who pulled in the most laughs as Mollie the mare who believed in sugar candy mountain - a place animals go to when they die. Her Filipino-accented portrayal of Moses the raven also lent much comedy to the show. Lim Yu Beng was so-so as the kingpig, I mean 'kingpin'. He lacked the evil streak (why am I thinking of streaky bacon all of a sudden?!) and presence that Napoleon ought to have had. He just was so much more masterful as Boxer in the previous season.
There were a few slapstick moments that didn't jive. The odd song that sprinkled the show, including 'Tonight's Gonna be a Good Night' didn't go down well. The attempt to make the show palatable for the younger crowd didn't work for me. I hope George Orwell didn't turn in his grave. Another flaw was how inconsistent the accents were. Some dialogues were in standard English while others were laced with ethnic accents.
The show had elements of Stomp (when Jenson Koh the 8th member of the cast came out from behind his drum set and started banging on the stage floor and zinc sheets) and Mummenschanz (the use of aluminium tubing coils) and even a fleeting moment of Les Miserables.
Should you catch the show?
- you've never caught the previous seasons
- you appreciate the hard work that goes into good physical theatre
- you love watching animal behaviour in humans
- you want to see how closely it sticks to your Literature text
- you want to see how text is adapted for theatre
ANIMAL FARM is now on at the Drama Centre at the National Library Building. Now on till 8th May 2010! Tickets still selling at SISTIC.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
His real name's Derrick Evans. This 56-year-old grandfather of three has been championing fitness for about thirty years. He got himself on British TV channel GMTV in 1993 and since then, has been rallying his countrymen to take the path of fitness. This TV personality and fitness instructor believes people will be drawn to fitness if there's a fun element to it. In fact, such is his pull that even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has tasked Derrick to help millions in the UK shed the pounds and fight obesity belly-on!
There are many triggers that have people turning to fitness, and fun is his bait. Ladies, there's a free workout happening at Zirca this Thursday, 29th April 2010. Click here to read more or sign up for his event led by Mr Motivator himself!
Mr Motivator even had us do some simple stretching and breathing exercises in The Living Room to get our muscles moving. And we thought moving our lips with all that talking we're paid to do was enough of a workout. I guess not. *sigh*
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Defining human spirit and endurance, denying the difference in cultures and what would have been in the name of national interest and designating his race as a cause worth investing in simply blows your mind. These are moments when you see love lived out and hearts and hands opened, just because someone had put his foot forward. And so began a 250-kilometre adventure across six days over rough undulating terrain in the South American desert, where temperatures soared to 46 degree Celsius. His feet and feat have raised $300,000 from donors all around the world. The beneficiary - Special Olympics Singapore athletes.
This is the story of Michael Dee.
(above: Michael Dee, David Rutherford - MD of Special Olympics Asia Pacific, Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang - President of Special Olympics Singapore)
Michael who recently resigned as senior managing director of Temasek Holdings had previously worked with Morgan Stanley for more than a quarter of a century. Despite the high-level corporate life he led, charitable causes was never far from his mind. In fact, Michael is a founding board member of Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore - a charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Incidentally, he'd literally put his feet to work for them by climbing Mt Kilamanjaro.
But why his choice to benefit the Special Olympics team most recently? Let's put it this way...If anyone could comprehend and appreciate the challenges (and promises) of one with intellectual disabilities, Michael could. His younger sister Anne, who's in her forties, has Down Syndrome. But what a remarkable difference Special Olympics had made to her life and he knows it can do the same for many more like her here in Singapore.
With the concern for funding out of the way, our athletes who'll be flying the Singapore flag next year can now direct all their focus and attention on training for the international competition. That's according to Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of Special Olympics Singapore. The funds are there and the flight is waiting.
Speaking of a good cause, Special Olympics Singapore will be holding its flag day on Saturday, 1st May 2010. To lend a hand as a volunteer for the day, please make contact with them. Open your heart that day if you meet a volunteer. Financial contributions will continue to benefit the athletes in their training and development programmes and in support of financing other smaller scale tournaments throughout the year.
We like how Michael used the word 'investor' when speaking of those who gave towards the cause. He wasn't for the term 'donor' because the gesture of giving was really an investment into people's lives. Nice.
Retrace Michael's adventure and read the letters Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President S.R. Nathan sent Michael here.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Harry's has truly come a long way from when its founder Jim Gelpi in 1992 first planted the first outlet along the south side of the Singapore River at Boat Quay. From a lone F&B outlet, it added an 'upstairs' comprising a lounge and function room in 2000. Mohan wrote himself into Harry's history in 2002 when he bought out the shareholders and what change ensued. He was like a spark plug who ignited the business, growing it from jazz bar to what's now a heavyweight brand. By year's end, our island will have 31 Harry's outlets spread across the CBD, business parks, recreational and lifestyle belts, as well as malls. Remarkable growth for an 18-year-old company.
Among the many famous personalities, both customers and jazz greats, that Harry's has hosted, rogue trader Nick Leeson of Barings will perhaps be best remembered as a frequent patron. Mohan however shares that he was once told by his staff that Minister Mentor Lee had popped in one afternoon. Ahh! Could this be the missing piece to the puzzling name? I'm none the wiser after my chat with Mohan that I was before.
Mohan pens his journey and that of the business and brand in The Story of Harry's, his first book through which he articulates fresh, heartfelt and vivid recollections of the path they've collectively and individually taken. From milestones to millstones, it's obvious this man's no quitter.
It's an easy read brewed with lots of wholesome honesty, bubbling with full-bodied flavour just like Harry's Premium Lager (which you can redeem a bottle for by presenting Mohan's book at any Harry's outlet from now till April 2011).
The Story of Harry's (published by Marshall Cavendish) is on sale at all major bookstores at S$25 (before GST).