Given that I had loved the 2013 Mandarin version of The 3 Little Pigs so much, I went to this year’s The Little Company/ Singapore Repertory Theatre’s first children’s production of The Three Billy Goats Gruff《三只山羊》with high expectations. And given the fact that I have watched the sell-out English version (of the same title) last year, the story line was clearly very fresh in my mind. I guess I have some high expectations to be met. Coming out from the first weekend of the show, sharing some of the highs and lows of the show.
It is always more fun to watch the Mandarin dialogue/script
I have the privilege to watch both the English and Mandarin version with my kids. Somehow even for me who is not so conversant in Mandarin, there are many subtle jokes using the Chinese language which is oh- so-clever and witty which somehow the English language may not be able deliver. These are probably more for the adult crowd which form probably half of the audience! Yes, you need to keep in mind that you are not just entertaining the children and riskinig the rest(ie the adults) dozing off (especially for matinee show after a full lunch).
Probably a Danny Yeo’s signature as the previous production of the The 3 Little Pigs were also peppered with jokes and witty liners that could only be scripted in Mandarin. Go watch it and you will know what I mean.
The songs are so catchy as always and its so nice to hear them sing in Mandarin
A signature of TLC of course, the songs are all so catchy and easy to sing along be it in English or Mandarin. I can’t wait for TLC to produce the newer version of the TLC songs on CD so that I (I meant my kids) can sing along in the car. And the best way to learn a language or to have easy exposure to a weaker language is through music and songs! So once they have the compilation of the Mandarin songs out on a CD, I will definitely be first in line to purchase it!
An overall strong cast with regulars like Ann Lek and some noteworthy new faces
I love to watch Ann’s performances as she has been a regular cast in many of the TLC productions be it English or Chinese. Most recently, she was Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island. So its nice to catch her once again in a different language as she is one of the best bilingual actresses in the TLC productions. I have a few favourites and she is one of them! Another note worthy performer was “Mei Nao Mei” who is the little Bo Frilly.
Enough of how I rate the production, what do my kids think?
Yes, it was clearly mentioned that the recommended age category was between 5 to 12 years old. I had watched the English production before and know how “scary” the Troll is. I was quite confident that my coming to 3 year old is able to handle most part of it and still be entertained. Small J had to come out with me towards the end of the show (sd my girl needed to visit the restroom like 5 minutes to the end of the show!) only to insist he wants to be back inside to catch the remaining part of the show. So much for being scared at some parts of the show then the Troll was scaring the goats!
As my older two kids are not very strong in Mandarin, they sat through without being very lost , partly as they have watch it before and also the production was pitched at their level. They being veterans to TLC productions (we watched at least 1 to 2 productions a year), this is another memorable show in their opinion. There was an audience interaction segment whereby the kids were asked to mimic the exercise drills/workout so that the goats can muscle out the Troll. They truly enjoyed that segment!
I felt could have been better was that the Troll was in fact the most important character in the production that they could cast a stronger actor to play the role. It is often more difficult to play an evil character than the hero or the goody two shoes. I remember the actor (cant remember his name) who acted in the English production of the The Three Billy Goats Gruff was quite good and convincing. I felt the actor who portrayed the Troll in this Mandarin production wasn’t as convincing, or as evil or lack some stage presence . Compared to my absolute favourite, George Chan portraying the Big Bad Wolf in The 3 Little Pigs back in 2013, the Troll didn’t quite come on par.
Thankfully the overall cast was good, the very strong and witty script interpreted by Danny Yeo in Mandarin, the catchy tunes that we can sing along even after the show and with not many Mandarin productions in Singapore, I would still grade this as a must watch . Given that my kids are fortunate to watch many wonderful English local and foreign productions, a Mandarin production doesn’t come so often which makes this an ah-mehhhhhhzing experience.
The Little Company’s The Three Billy Goats Gruff《三只山羊》
Thursday 18 February to Saturday 26 March 2016
Mondays to Fridays: 10am
Sat: 11am and 2pm (note there are no shows on Sunday)
Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT (which was previously known as the DBS Repertory Centre)
Recommended for children age 5 and up.
Tickets priced from SGD25 and up are available from SISTIC Agent (list of agents), through Sistic Hotline (Tel: 6348 5555) SISTIC Mobile App or SISTIC Website. For information on applicable discounts: visit this website.
Disclaimer: We were given tickets to the show for reviewing purpose. All opinions are solely ours, and all photos specified are credited to Singapore Repertory Theatre.
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