Review: Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco

For whatever reason, Q asked to see the circus one day. He must have seen something on television, saw pictures about a circus or other because it became an idea stuck in his head that he would not shake. Personally I blame the Wiggles cos they have circus themes in their shows. In any case, the famed Cirque Du Soleil was in town and I had never watched their presentation of Saltimbanco so Wun and I decided we would take the kid to watch the circus.

He was duly excited about it and he talked about clowns and acrobats and trapeze acts. He asked if there would be animals and we said no. There was a small conversation about how animals should not belong to a circus but in a zoo. He said, the animals also do tricks at the zoo so its a little bit the same; which the kid was right and we had to launch into another whole discussion on animals in the wild, animals in the zoo and animals in the circus.

The bottom-line was we had to love animals and take care of them. Kids asks some tough everyday questions actually.

Anyway, Q was a little apprehensive upon seeing the stage and the general darken arena but he warmed up soon enough. The troop did a great job warming up the audience and by the time the main event rolled along, Q was utterly into the circus. I don’t think it even dawned on him that there weren’t any animals in the show. Surprisingly, he seem to enjoy the mime the best; we thought he would have been more enthralled by the trapeze or acrobats.

There was a moment where the “devil” came up- black cloak, horns and all. And the poor kid started to hold on to my arm really tightly. As a mild spoiler: it turned out to be the mime clown in disguise. It was quite funny to hear the kid laugh out loud in relief actually. Yeah, we parents take what we can get.

I’d be honest that if I wasn’t so keen on catching the show to begin with, it probably wasn’t the best place to take a 2.5yo. Even a circus loving one. But seeing as mummy wanted to watch it too… I though it was kinda great.

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Review: Ace! Festival- Our Island

Our Island turned out to a really gem of a show, if a little slow to pick up pace.

I’d be honest and say that after the first ten minutes of the show I was ready to walk out- the squawking of the actors (they each spoke a different gibberish language as supposed to English) was a tad annoying.

The show picked up in pace and storyline after about 20minutes to a strong climax and finish- the overall plot was strong and the use of gibberish added a certain charm to the whole experience. Q- and the other kids, seems utterly non fussed by the non-English-ness of the whole play and my 2yo found it decidedly hilarious!

From the synopsis:
Three diverse and comical characters are washed up on a mystery island. Why? We don’t know. How? We don’t know. What we do know is – that they REALLY don’t understand each other! They must overcome their fears and phobias, and work together to escape from the island. First, they need to learn how to communicate with each other in order to work together. Using physical theatre, comedy, music and mayhem to raise some important questions and examine preconceptions about stereotypes, this is an international collaboration about international collaboration!

Review: Ace! Festival- The owl who was afraid of the dark

I read this book one day whilst wandering about the kid’s bookstore and while I didn’t like it enough to buy it (read: too expensive in my eyes), I did enjoy the story enough to think that it would make a relatively funny show for kids to watch and was duly excited that it was part of the ACE! Festival! offering.

This was probably the strongest of the festival offerings I watched- the cast started out engaging the audience even before the show actually began and had many pockets of occasions for the audience to participate throughout the show.

The storytelling element itself was beautifully done, kudos to all three actors who- despite a slightly strong English accent that threw me off a little at some points, played their roles magnificently. They kept the story simple enough for my 2.5yo to understand and Q really got into the whole show- singing and participating as requested.

A great show overall.

From the synopsis:
Plop was a baby Barn Owl. He lived at the top of a tall tree, in a field. He was fat and fluffy. He had big round eyes. He had very knackety knees. Plop was exactly the same as every barn owl that has ever been – except for one thing. He was AFRAID of the DARK. One day, Mr Barn Owl suggested that Plop fly down into the world and find out about the dark for himself. So, Plop climbed out of his nest-hole, peeped over the edge, wobbled a bit, and fell off his branch. And so, began Plop’s adventure…

Based on the classic children’s book by Jill Tomlinson, this funny, gentle and reassuring tale (is an) irresistible blend of live music, puppetry and storytelling, this beautiful new show introduces an old friend to a new generation of theatre-goers. Join Plop, the baby barn owl as he journeys into the night-time world of campfires, fireworks, starry nights and moonlit adventures. Come join us, – it’s going to be a hoot!

Review: Dora the Explorer Asian Tour

Unfortunately for me, Q discovered Dora the explorer a while back, no thanks to my niece who is a big Dora fan. We were in Penang on a joint holiday and my niece popped in a Dora DVD into the player and all the kids (Q included) settled down to watching (several) episodes of Dora the Explorer. And the intrepid pink shirted explorer and her monkey sidekick gained a new fan.

Over the last year or so, Q has really amped up his fondness for Dora and her adventures and so I figured he might have fun watching Dora live. I drew the line at a meet and greet, but we scored fairly good seats.

From the synopsis: Dora the Explorer has lost her teddy bear, and the search is on to retrieve him! With the help of the audience, Map, Backpack, Boots, Diego and their courageous friends, Dora uses her map-reading, counting, musical and language skills to successfully pass through the number pyramid and the mixed-up jungle to reach the City of Lost Toys. But watch out – you never know what that sneaky fox Swiper might be up to along the way! Dora the Explorer fans will delight in this two act, song and dance spectacular that invites them to think, sing and play along.

The show itself was a slight disappointment actually. The production was a little more than a shopping center showcase. Ok, it was clearly longer and they had songs and some moving props, but, really, it was a LONGGG puppet show. I gotta say, though, the show picked up a little when Diego came along, but really, I felt every LOONNGG minute of the show.

Perhaps I had just come off an amazing Wiggles concert, but, really, for the ticket prices they were charging, they could have done a better job.

Letter of the week- Q

Of the 26 letter of the alphabets, we are clearly most familiar with our letter of the week- Q. Because- duh!- Q is for Quentin. Also, we call Quentin “Q” most of the time. Well, sometimes, Q-ball too. So, Q is mighty familiar with the letter Q.

And well, Q is really the first letter of the alphabet he ever learnt. Small wonder huh?

Because of his familiarity with the letter I had to think of something a little special to initiate this letter of the week and we decided to head to Qian Hu Fish Farm cos, well, the place began with Q. I know, stretching it a little but, we can only try right?

It seemed to work well enough cos he was duly excited to see the big (fake) fishes and so we stopped to chat about where we were and we got him to count the number of “Qs” in the sign and then got, duly, distracted by all the pretty fish in the place.

I didn’t have high hopes for the place but it turned out to be a real gem of a day. In particular, we had fun dipping our hand into the fish spa pool- I’m sure we weren’t really allowed to do that but, well, we only did a short spot of that. And spent a happy half hour trying to catch long hang fish; we were dismal in that only catching four tiny things in that time. I blame the net for being too small (its the size of 2/3 of an iPhone).

After our day at Q is for Qian Hu Fish Farm, we embarked on our letter of the week craft, making a Q is for Quail and q is for queen.

I’m thinking of making a big letter Q with Quentin’s face on it… hmmm… we’ll see.

Review: SRT’s Three Little Pigs

Because we have been on a roll with the watching of shows for kids, we took Q to watch the successful SRT’s presentation of The Three Little Pigs.

This charming retelling of the classic tale of the same name, is a lovely- Singaporean, take of how three little pigs (yummily named Char, Siew and Pau) set out to find their fortunes and their chance meeting of the big bad wolf along the way. A laugh a minute aside, this story teaches little ones how success can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.

Q thoroughly enjoyed his outing at the theatre and just for laughs, we took him for dim sum after and ordered a happy serving of Char Siew Pau!

Review: Stick Man

Kid’s Fest 2012 brought in three shows: The tiger who came to tea, We’re going on a bear hunt and Stick Man. We had originally only planned to watch Tiger and Bear but since Q had such a great time at the two shows, we bought last minute tickets (at the door with ten minutes to go, no less) to catch Stick Man.

And what a gem of a show it turned out to be!

Based on the hugely successful book by Julia Donaldson, Stick Man tells the tale of an unlikely (anti)hero who lives in the family tree with his “Stick Lady Love and their Stick Children Three.” Stick Man’s adventure takes off when a dog steals him away and he has to somehow find his way home.

Brought to the stage by the acclaimed Scamp Theatre, the show mixes puppetry with actors and though I thought Q (and the other kids) would have problems identifying the puppet and actor as one, he really got into the show and even teared up when all seemed lost and Stick Man looked like he might never make it home and applauded when he finally did.

Though I was most apprehensive about this show, I ended enjoying this the most. Not just because I felt the way the Scamp Theatre engaged the children was brilliant but the show gave me an insight to Q, his emotional maturity (for a barely two year old anyway) and his thought process seeing as he felt the need to jabber out loud all through this show.

An utter gem of a day.