One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
Base Entertainment is the entity that brings a variety of entertainment experiences to the Marina Bay Sands. Starting in October, they are doing it again with a programme of six performances that will appeal to audiences of every stripe. Here’s my take on each of the offerings. They all look awfully tempting to me, but I will strive to present each précis without prejudice, not choosing a favorite until the end of this article. With the busy calendars of my theatre-going readers in mind, I will present each in the order of their performance at MBS.
Kinky Boots starts 5 October, 2018
The difficult part of going to see Kinky Boots or any of the six upcoming events is deciding on what footwear to don on performance night. I will seek to impart guidance for each show. For this one, I’m thinking high boots. Although not particularly kinky, they should grab some attention given the title tie-in. I mean, ‘Girls just want to have fun,’ Right? I throw in that quote in as a smooth segue to Cyndi Lauper who wrote the score. In so doing, she grabbed a Tony Award for Best Score.
Telling of the travails of a men’s shoe factory might not seem the obvious premise for a rollicking rock musical, but it works and, yes, it rocks! ‘Inspired by true event,’ the musical (and the factory) finds it feet (sorry!) when the character, Lola, arrives on stage searching for the perfect pair of stiletto heels for her routine. Struggling to meet his factory-founding father’s expectations, Charlie Price sees the future ion Lola’s quest and the unlikely pair create an unlikely pair of sturdy stilettos. A concept is born.
Stuffed with the songs that copped the Tony for Ms Lauper, Kinky Boots ‘is about acceptance, kindness, friendship and families.’
Black high boots for me.
Mamma Mia! starts 3 November, 2018
Part of an international tour, this production of the mega-successful ABBA-based musical is coming back to Singapore with all the flair and feel-good vibes of its first run here in 2014. It was a big-time hit here the first time. Tickets may disappear expeditiously, so plan ahead is my advice. Just seeing the title places an worm so snugly in a fan’s ear that it takes a good, hard listen to “Dancing Queen’ to replace it. Be careful, these songs are infectious.
Wedding Day on a Greek island. A daughter’s quest to find her real Father.
A mother’s journey into her own romantic past. 10% of the U.K. population has seen it. Mamma Mia is a cultural icon.
Footwear for the evening? Two words: DISCO BOOTS – ladies. Something pretty darn shiny – gentlemen.
Romeo and Juliet 23 – 25 November 2018
From Mamma Mia to Romeo and Juliet is a it of a leap, let’s be honest. But that cultural leap lies at the figurative heart of Base Entertainment. Variety and eclecticism might be found somewhere in the Base Entertainment credo. Presented by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, Shakespeare’s iconic play tells the tale (spoiler alert!) of two teen lovers who overcome their families’ objections to marry and thrive as a affectionate couple living happily in Verona.
Would make a rather dull tale, wouldn’t it? It doesn’t work out quite that neatly, alas. If you are one of the last few people on the planet to not have heard the story, you must see this production. Even if you do know what happens, this spectacular production should be on your to-see list. ‘Bulgutova [Julia] and Kudriatsev [Romeo] will transport audiences to Renaissance Verona, its piazza bustling with market traders, street entertainers and the restless factions of the Capulet and Montague families.’ It’s magical stuff made more so through special effects and colourful backdrops. The lead dancers will be joined by a 45-member support cast. Costumed expertly, this will be a spectacular of the first degree.
Ballet shoes would be most appropriate.
Hi-5 Supers 7-9 December 2018
OK, you have your Shakespeare, your ABBA, your Kinky Boots, but where, I ask, are the Superheroes? On stage, that’s where. Base Entertainment is bringing this wacky, wild, out-of-this-world adventure to the kids of Singapore. Plenty of dancing, singing, leaping around, and superhero affects, the production is take-off of the popular and award-winning Australian television production, Hi-5. For the Marina Bay Sands event, however, four new cast members will join one veteran in a ‘newly-themed show’ created especially for MBS and called Hi-5 Supers. For one day, each of the five is granted the wish to become a superhero of their choosing.
Super Vision, Super Strong, Super Sound, Super Fast, and Super Sneaker together live through a harrowing, stimulating, awe-filled day leaning along the way that there is more to being a hero than having Super powers. ‘The show hopes to reveal everyone’s inner superhero. It is about expressing oneself and accepting others in their own ‘super’ way.’
I’m bringing the heroic Mr. C (Official Child of janiqueel.com) to this one. He and I will both be carrying laser swords and wearing anti-gravitational space boots.
Faith & Freedom: The Music of George Michael 14-15 December 2018
WHAM! Just like that – Faith & Freedom – will transport fans and would-be fans into the career of pop icon George Michael. Blending a full orchestral concert, a full choir of freelance vocalists from SINGapore, and narration, the performance will cover Michael’s full career from the early days of Wham to his lengthy string of single hits. Remember?
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
I Can’t Make You Love Me
I’m Your Man
A Different Corner
Kissing a Fool
One More Try
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go 16. Father Figure
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me
Well-known to the Perth musical scene, Matt Allen ‘…along with three of Western Australia’s brightest young vocal talents’ will transport the audience to through the amazing career that ended, alas, all too soon. Narration carries them audience on a group of George Michael’s eventful life.
‘Bringing the magic of orchestral sound to George Michael’s songs is award-winning Australian conductor, listed by Limelight Australia in the ‘Top Twenty Artists of the Year’ for 2017, Jessica Gethin. Combining forces with Singapore’s best freelance musicians, Jessica will lead rich orchestral strings, over a groove from drums, bass, saxophone and percussion to provide the insight and attention to detail that creates a show capturing George’s live work with the respect and dignity it truly deserves.’
Not trying to outdo the man himself, I’d wear a pair of pointy-toed loafers without socks. I hope to find a seat near the aisle – I’m gonna be DANCING!
Matilda the Musical starts 21 February 2019
‘Easily the standout musical of the decade.’ Sunday Times, UK
‘Once in a blue moon, a show comes out blazing and restores your faith in Broadway. Matilda the Musical is that show.’ New York Post
As the reviews highlight, Matilda the Musical has been a smash hit on Broadway, the West End, and on stages around the globe. Now, my friends, we can see it right here in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands. Roald Dahl’s novel tells the story of a bookish five-year-old whose intellectual growth is curtailed by her TV-obsessed parents who see no future in learning. School is no easy road for Matilda, but she find solace and affirmation from her teacher, Miss Honey, and librarian, Miss Phelps. A hit musical with a librarian hero! For my pal, John, a librarian himself, this will be a must-see, I’m sure. Must tell him about it. ‘Not too early to order tickets,’ I’ll hint.
Award-winning choreographers, set and costume designers all had a hand in making this feel-good production a visual and auditory feast. Young actors try hard to steal the show, and often succeed. Mr. C may not see the message behind the musical, bu he will love the dancing and singing and he can sway to the tunes along with the best of audience members.
Standard school-girl oxfords will go nicely with my white shirt and plaid skirt.
Bottom Line – one can’t miss with any of these Base Entertainment offerings. They all sound terrific, don’t they? I’d look le to see them all. However, if I must (because I said I would – see paragraph 1) choose just one, I must defer to Mr. C’s impeccable taste in entertainment. You guessed it — Hi 5 Supers is the one for us. Already showing the traits of a superhero, the boy will lock in his superhuman tendencies after seeing this.
We can’t wait!