Review: Esplanade’s Play Time’s The Magic Ocean

I decided it was time to initiate Evan into the world of theatre and musicals and since I was planning to take Q to watch the well review The Magic Ocean at the Esplanade, I decided I would buy a family set of tickets and take the bub.

This was part of the Esplanade Play Time offerings.

I didn’t have high hopes for the little fella but Q was duly excited to enter a world where you could swim with the whales, make friends with crabs and dance along with the fish. Ever since he watched Finding Nemo, he’s always held a particular fondness for ocean things.

One of the things I like about this is that the audience is seated within the musical space. Meaning, the action happens all around everyone and there are many interactive portions where the audience can take part: action songs, going up to pat the faux jellyfish, shooing the bad “whale catchers away” and sticking shells and starfish (velcro toys that were lying around) onto various ocean creatures (think barnacles).

I was kinda surprised that Evan stayed awake and attentive throughout the whole show and passed out gloriously for two hours after the show (yay!). Q jabbered about the jellyfishes incessantly and tried to mimic Dory (from Finding Nemo) in speaking whale to great hilarity.

This show comes around seasonally and if it comes, you guys would definitely go watch it!

From the program website:

Come on an underwater adventure this June down below the Magic Ocean!

Swim with fish great and small, or take a walk sideways with the friendly crab and starfish! Hide in a large clam shell, or peacefully glide through the sea with turtles and ride the rolling waves up and down. Once in a while, you might have to flee from the fearsome shark!

In this theatrical experience specially designed for 2 –4 year olds, children will discover a magical world through visual stimulation, music, shadow play and interaction as the ocean comes alive before their eyes.

Come sit along the seabed among colourfuls coral and watch the wonders of the sea unfold with us in the Magic Ocean!

Advertisements

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.

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.

Review: Wiggles in concert

Q has been a huge Wiggles fan since he was able to watch TV. Yeah, we allowed him a small about of TV time a day when he was about 8 months old mainly cos we were helper-less, he never napped and mummy needed sometime to at least catch a shower that was more than two minutes long.

As he got older, Wiggles became a mainstay at our household; we became friends with Jeff, Anthony, Murray, Greg and Sam. I quite liked the Wiggles, they sang fun kids songs, were probably the most wholesome children’s gig on TV, spoke good English (if a little Aussie) and Q seemed to take best to them over all other stuff we showed him. When we started traveling, the Wiggles helped us through long plan rides, nights in the hotel when I was rushing work and as he got older, it enabled us to take him to work meetings overseas.

We were in Brisbane last year for a short work/holiday and we took Q to Wiggles World and I ended up having to take the Big Red Car ride five times. In fact, when we got to Wiggles World Q, then just past one year old, started dancing to the music.

So, you can imagine our excitement when we heard the Wiggles were coming to town in a sort of farewell tour- Jeff, Greg and Murray were retiring year end. In fact, it was my sister’s boyfriend that heard of it first (don’t ask me how) and it became a half extended family affair seeing as my Sister also wanted in to go. I think she was probably more excited than Q who probably thought we were going to watch Wiggles on a big TV.

He kinda got that he was going to watch Wiggles live about five minutes before the show began and it was such utter joy watching him get so excited he could hardly contain himself. For over an hour, he fell into the Wiggles world he had so long watched on video; singing align to old favorites and doing the actions. There was one particular funny part when they sang a song he was unfamiliar with and he turned to us exclaiming: “Oh! What song is that?! I don’t know it!” All while not missing a dancing bobbing beat.

The Wiggles put up a great show: high energy, great camaraderie, pockets of comedy for the parents and I think the entire audience enjoyed themselves. Yes, parents included.

We’d miss the Wiggles as we know it but we are glad we got to watch them live. 🙂

Review: Ace! Festival- Just So!

Its been a while since we last caught a for kids theatre performance and I was particularly excited when the ACE festival rolled along with a slew of shows for kids. We were fortunate to catch the opening show at the new Goodman Arts Center .

From the synopsis:
 Have you ever wondered how and why the camel got his hump? How did the leopard get his spots? How did the elephant get his trunk? How did the Rhinoceros get his skin? How exactly did the Armadillo happen? Rudyard Kipling’s lively, hilarious stories, collected from all over the world are intertwined with pearls of wisdom about the pitfalls of arrogance and pride and the importance of curiosity, imagination, and inventiveness.

It was clearly a popular show seeing as the entire place (with free seating) was packed crammed full of (relatively badly behaved) kids from a primary school.

The poor fellow audience behavior notwithstanding, the show was pretty good- the actors were engaging, the plot was simple but funny and the localized music more than made up for being slightly squashed. The musical boasted a series of stories on how the animals came to be and they had designed the program to appeal to even the toddlers and Q had a whale of a time.

He spent the rest of the evening telling daddy the stories he had heard about how the greedy rhino got folds in his skin and how the curious elephant ended up with a long nose.

Two thumbs up!

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!