Truly a musical and magical treat – The Magic Paintbrush

3 facts you may not know about The Magic Paintbrush

  1. It was based and inspired by a popular Chinese folk tale
  2. It was first staged in 2000 at the old Drama Centre and now back at  the Drama Centre at the National Library
  3. It was one of the first musical incorporating puppets back then




I purchased the book at the door and had a quick read through with my kids covering the gist of the books as the book is too wordy for my 3 and 5 year old. This beautifully illustrated story book is also a colouring book where kids can add their own colour using paintbrush if they like or just colour pencils or crayons.

The only deviation from the book was the main character was a boy called Tony Lee, and in the production, they decided to cast it as a girl named Toni Lee. It was set in modern Singapore whereby the expectations of the parents were high where success if measured not by talent but sheer hardwork. As Toni was mugging for her exams, her mind wandered after reading the story “The Magic Paintbrush”. A Magic Paintbrush came alive and granted Toni a wish and transported her to the southern province in Ancient China. She became Ma Liang, the character in the story. When she was gifted a Magic Paintbrush by an Old Man, she could paint anything and it will come to life. So she went and painted for food and items needed by the poor farmers and become the hero of the village. The greedy Emperor heard of Ma Liang and her Magic Paintbrush and ordered the palace guards , Sotong and Shrimp (who provided most of the slapstick comedy through this production) to capture Ma Liang so that she c0uld paint him all the gold and riches of the world. I shall not delved on further on how it ended but at the end, there is a strong moral message of the danger of abusing power and the value of creativity and of friendship.

and 5 reasons you should not miss this wonderful production.

  1. One of the strongest cast in a I Theatre production

If you have been watching children’s productions for years like yours truly, you would be familiar with Dwayne Tan and Tan Shou Chen. I first saw Dwayne Tan 5 years ago in SRT’s Jack and the Beanstalks, (my first ever children theatre) . An ex Singapore idol alumnus, there is no denying his singing powess and his acting skills. In fact, back in the 2000, he was casted as Toni/Ma Liang. For this year’s production he plays the Magic Paintbrush and the Old Man.


And Tan Shou Chen who was last seen at SRT’s Treasure Island and he totally nailed the character of the very demanding father to Toni Lee and the very greedy and evil Emperor of China. In most production, the evil and the bad characters are the most memorable, which is clearly the case as well.



2. The most beautiful set of props and costumes



I shall let the photos do the talking.

3. Mixed of puppetry and luminous props

They have also incorporate luminous props  as part of the musical, a reminiscence of their prior production, Little Star which has captivated the younger audiences.

There were also 3 main puppets used throughout the productions, The Magic Paintbrush,  Madam Hoang, the phoenix and the Chicken which blend in seamlessly with the cast. Some of the cast played both the actor and also the puppeteer, truly versatile.


4. Beautiful written musical scores and catchy tunes

Reaching for a shining star
Working for a world so far
Looking for a place to call
My home at last.

Striving for a heart that’s true
Searching for the peace you knew
Hoping for a future better than your past

sung by the main character, Ma Liang, so heartfelt and bring up the emotions


And there was even a comical song about “taxes” by Sotong and Shrimp, I am sure my kids don’t have an inkling about taxes but the adult audience do very well. I really hope that I Theatre will complied the songs from this production into a CD so that theatre goers can bring back the songs after watching.

5. Truly something for the young (as young as 3) to old

There is slapstick comedy for the very young who will be wildly entertained by the antics of Sotong and Shrimp , the palace guards.  And for the older crowd like me or even grandparents , the cast has incorporated Cantonese in some of the dialogues much to my amusement.



And this is the bonus reason why we should bring kids to the theatre not just The Magic Paintbrush but children’s theatre in general – shared by Little Day Out with I Theatre.

As it is a 1 and a half hour production with a 15 minute interval, do ensure you bring some snacks during the interval as it is a tad longer than the usual productions that we had watched. The queue at the cafe was quite long during the interval so it is best you pack some snacks for the younger kids and some hot drinks at it is pretty chilly in the big theatre.

Do not miss this very special final production for 2016 for I Theatre as they commemorate their 15th year anniversary. Thank you for enriching the children in Singapore for the past 15 years and for my family, some of the most memorable productions we had attended to date – The Ant and the Grasshopper (2014, and it is back as the first production for 2017, yay! ) and Jewel in the Tale (2015) and of course we have added The Magic Paintbrush to the list as well.


The Magic Paintbrush
Presented by I Theatre

Thu, 27 Oct – Sat, 12 Nov 2016
27 0ct 2016 till 30 Oct 2016
Thu – Fri: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Sat & Sun: 11am & 2.30pm

1 Nov 2016 till 12 Nov 2016
Tue & Thu: 10.30am & 2.30pm
Wed & Fri: 10.30am
Sat: 11am, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Sun: 11am & 5pm

Venue: Drama Centre Theatre, Drama Centre Theatre, Level 3 National Library Building, 100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064

Recommended for three year olds and above
Ticket prices: $32 (excluding booking fee)

Tickets available from SISTIC.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All photos except the photo of my kids and the story book are credited to I Theatre. 

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