Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Once again, I've been neglecting this blog, concentrating recent writing efforts on Just Watch Lah.

The past few weeks have felt like a whirlwind at times, with 4 shows in 3 weeks, and more to come.

Saw Adam Lambert in concert on the 8th, at the Star Performing Arts Centre. He played to a packed theatre, but sadly, the show ended abruptly after 80 minutes and a single encore, just as everyone was getting really excited.

In spite of this rather irritating turn of events, I enjoyed myself immensely. The set list was fabulous, featuring many of Adam's chart-topping hits, which he sang flawlessly.

Many songs from his latest album, Trespassing, were featured, of course. My personal favourite: Shady, which had everyone bopping and singing along to with great enthusiasm. I haven't danced quite like this since Robbie Williams' scream-fest of a gig at the Indoor Stadium 10 years ago! :)

No idea what happened at the end when Adam left the stage, leaving his band looking confused for a moment.

Will he return to Singapore in the future? If he does, I'm definitely watching him again. But the organizers really have to do whatever it takes to make him happy. It isn't right to pay this much for only 80 minutes!

2 days later, I caught The Exchange at a little recital studio at the Aliwal Arts Centre.

It is a VERY ulu place, with a seating capacity of only 100.

But it was such a &^%*$#@ good show! :D

Here's my review. Knock yourself out!

The group headed back to Hong Kong after their stop here, and have been making huge waves this past fortnight, both at the a cappella festival and at loads of high schools.

I sent them a Facebook message while they were in Singapore, suggesting they perform at schools to increase exposure. No idea if they actually decided to follow my advice, but if they did, I'm feeling quite proud of myself. :)

I've emailed people at the Esplanade to consider organizing a show for these guys, so let's hope that effort is successful. I absolutely NEED to see them again - they are AWESOME!

Le Noir was on the 14th. The acts aren't earth-shattering, but I was very moved by the music and the almost ethereal beauty of the performers. I haven't seen so many gorgeous people in one spot since Paris' Moulin Rouge in 2010!

My mum and I had front row seats, and the performers strolled through the aisles on multiple occasions, which was fantastic. A young male skater is, hands down, the best-looking of the group, and my favourite act is a scary balancing routine featuring tiers of cylinders. It defies the laws of physics on so many levels, I had to avert my eyes and hold my breath for most of the segment. Worse than a horror film, but what an adrenaline rush! :)

On the 21st, I saw the Singapore Repertory Theatre's Venus In Fur, reviewed here.

It was a good performance, but didn't match my expectations in terms of heat. Not sure if things have improved since then, but based on my experience with other shows, I suspect they will.

There lies the conflict in writing reviews - you see shows early to stay current, but may end up with a diluted product; see them later and be rewarded with something better, but by the time your critique hits the Net, the run is practically over.

It's a fine balancing act, so I try to toggle between both, sometimes by choice, sometimes out of necessity ( e.g. if I'm overseas or have other more important commitments ).

But one of the biggest pleasures I get from my moonlighting gig is establishing valuable relationships with theatre industry figures, who are incredibly generous with their time and assistance. They arrange interviews with the cast and director, invite you to meet-and-greets or help you get autographs, etc.

My support for local theatre companies spiked only a few years ago, but the experience has been extremely rewarding in many ways. Their tireless efforts have resulted in collaborations with world-renowned troupes like the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Bridge Project, bringing stars like Ian McKellan, Rebecca Hall, Ethan Hawke, Lea Salonga and Kevin Spacey to our shores.

In addition, Pangdemonium! wows with their edgy choices, expert direction and nurturing of young talent. Spring Awakening easily rivals the Broadway productions I've seen, which is amazing!

I encourage anyone who's able and willing to make a regular donation to a local theatre company of your choice. If that isn't your thing, then at least attend the shows. They are terrific. :)

Finally got around to watching this, after Ben Affleck's triumphant win at the Oscars.

I've been a fan of his work for many years, from his early films ( School Ties, Chasing Amy, Good Will Hunting ), through the duds ( Daredevil, Paycheck, Gigli ) and his directorial efforts ( Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo ).

He has always struck me as highly intelligent, and I couldn't be happier that he managed to bounce back after a period of missteps ( Bennifer, anyone? ). He's blessed with a beautiful family and demonstrates great maturity as a director, choosing source material that is controversial, thought-provoking and, most importantly, inspiring.

Argo is expertly paced, with understated yet poignant performances from the entire cast. Affleck's films always explore the intricacies of human nature, and Argo celebrates the selfless contributions of the Central Intelligence Agency's personnel, many of whom risk their lives for complete strangers, fighting wars behind the scenes while others take credit for their work.

Affleck touched me deeply with his portrayal of Tony Mendez, the CIA officer who orchestrated the daring rescue. I have no idea how close it is to the truth, but for the purpose of the movie, I consider this his best role yet. The trials and tribulations he endured over the years have transformed him into an accomplished actor and director, and I applaud his perseverance and courage.

Congratulations, Ben, on your many well-deserved accolades! :D

Another film very much worth mentioning is Love Never Dies, which I watched on cable a few days ago.

Recorded during a stage performance at Melbourne's Regent Theatre, it stars Ben Lewis as the Phantom, and Anna O'Byrne as Christine Daae.

I actually had a copy of this for about a year, but never got round to viewing it because I kept reading about the negative reviews it received when it debuted at the West End ( with Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess ).

Imagine my surprise when I fell in love with the musical immediately. While I agree the plot is a little ludicrous - the finale MUST be altered! - the songs are exquisite, and the cast absolutely fabulous.

The Australian actors are superb, with Lewis and O'Byrne captivating me completely. I am now hopelessly addicted to the soundtrack!

Before signing off, I must include Josh Groban.

After being a fan for 12 years, I have decided to take a flight to catch him in concert for the very first time.

It's a gig at the Sydney Opera House, and promises to be an awesome show. I last visited the venue in 2009 during a conference trip, and recall watching the orchestra rehearse when the guide brought us on a tour.

The theatre is HUGE. And sooo grand. I managed to book 6th row centre seats - it's going to be marvelous! :D

Watching Kumar on Thursday. Check Just Watch Lah for my review.

As Kevin Spacey signed in his autograph: Go to more theatre!

Before I sign off, a special mention about Hannibal, which will premiere in the U.S. on 4th April.

The trailers are gruesome and quite terrifying, and the cast is top-notch. I love Hugh Dancy, and Mads Mikkelsen appears to suit his role as Dr. Lecter pretty well. I can't wait!

Till next time... :)