Review: The Gruffalo

Most moms would agree that one of the must have books in a kid’s library is Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo. I am one of those Julia Donaldson living moms and said book is one of our favourite.

The inimitable book is about a clever mouse that outsmarts hungry fox, owl and snake and, beyond anyone’s belief, the Gruffalo too by, well, being just that tad cleverer than her hungry preys.

Needless to say, Q and I were really excited when they were part of kid’s fest 2013 (Jan/Feb) and bought our tickets early to watch the widely acclaimed show.

And the show did not disappoint! It was funny, engaging, fairly true to the book and highly musical. They kept the core rhyme pattern of the stories so the young Gruffalo fans (and their parents) were able to say the lines along with them; like when mouse says: Silly (old Fox), doesn’t he know? There’s no such thing as a Gruffalo!”


As someone who has read the book what seems to be a million times, I was surprised to find myself rooting for mouse more than I usually did. And even the Gruffalo was more cute, funny and cuddly- and hence a tad less scary for the younger members of the audience.

Q had an amazing time. He laughed, he recited lines, he played along and cheered for mouse when she made the Gruffalo run away in fear. Even our 10.5month old had a great time; he sat through the entire show, clapping alongside his brother and watching mesmerized through the musical numbers.

The Gruffalo stage version is much better than the movie, and to an extent, better than the book. Which, is a pretty neat feat.

Even if your kid has never read the book, take them anyway!

Cannot wait to do some Gruffalo activities tomorrow!


From the sistic synopsis:

Join Mouse on an adventurous journey through the deep dark wood in this magical musical adaptation of the award-winning book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (described by The Observer newspaper in England as “a modern classic”).

Mouse can scare hungry animals away with tall stories of the terrifying Gruffalo, but what happens when he comes face to face with the very creature he imagines? Let your imagination run wild with songs, laughs and fun for everyone aged 1 to 101!

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Review: Slava’s Snow Show

I’d be honest, I’m not a big clown fan. I think most of them look kinda freaky even if their funniness makes them easier to accept. Neither am I a big fan of snow and ice and all things ice related. I like living in the tropics, thank you very much. In any case, when we were invited to go catch Slava’s Snow Show when it came to town, I decided- heck, why not. But I’m packing me some warmer jackets and go with an open mind.

The show started of a little late and, truth be told we weren’t feeling too optimistic about the show seeing as the Sands Theatre was hardly even full. There were more than a few bits of paper snow on the floor from previous shows so Q was kinda bummed that it wasn’t real snow. It was a little warm, the background “music” of trains chugging along was starting to grate on me.

After a 15 minutes delay, the show finally took off and built momentum relatively slowly. We had to remind ourselves that this was not Cirque du Soleil even if the creator was with the troupe before. The clown work was funny enough, not particularly unique but more than competent and Q finally perked up with they hit the famous bubble show where thousands and thousands of bubbles floated about the stage. There wasn’t a clear flow of a story- not even sure if there was supposed to be a story back line but each individual segment was ok and the first half ended quite nicely with a screen of silk being pulled over the entire audience. Q was not impressed with this part seeing as the lead up to this was the clown cleaning “cob webs” and my 2m5yo decided it was dirty. Hahaha.

The latter half of the show was significantly better that the former with more fast paced action and funnier clown plots. There was a lot more (paper) snow being dunked on the audience so that was quite fun for the kids who were there. We were lucky to sit at a sweet spot near the front where we were spared most of the water being splashed around and we got to play with the snow but not be a washed by it as some members of the audience did. The back half had a slightly freaky segment (think rocking horse, morose clown knitting in the former, white shape walking across the stage) which I found utterly unnecessary but what do I know about the fine art of clowning, right?

The last two segments were the pinnacle of the show: a beautiful mime between a clown and “his lover” saying goodbye- beautifully executed and timed. That was followed by the legendary snowstorm which was absolutely spectacularly done. I’ve never been in a snowstorm and have no clue how accurate it was; but I liked that well enough.

If you ask Q, though, he’d tell you he liked the ending best; when they threw HUGE balls into the audience. He tried to take a ball back but we wren’t allowed to- bummer.

The show was pretty neat, all in all. A little pricy if you ask me, but quite fun overall.

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: 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: 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!