After returning home from work at 10am in the morning, and having a nice, long, rested sleep, I scurried down to the National Library, Drama Centre (100 Victoria Street, Level 3), where I met one of my best gal pals Caron for my birthday treat from her - to watch the local musical "Duck And Dive"!
I had purposedly avoided reading any publicity material about the show at all before this, so as to keep my expectations low, because having previously gone to some musicals with overly high expectations and then coming out feeling let down and disappointed in the end, I realized it would be best if I go in with next to zero expectations about a show and just let myself be surprised by it. And indeed I was! "Duck And Dive" was cute, funny, heartwarming and effervescent all at the same time!
The storyline was simple yet innovative. It combined two of our well-loved fairy tales (The Ugly Duckling and The Frog Prince) into one amazing journey of two youngsters who did not bear conventional beauty by societal standards who braved all odds in their journey through life and discovered in the end that happiness comes from embracing what is within oneself and following one's heart in pursuing your own chosen path in life, not one the you assumed in destined for you.
Yet again, another local musical production amazes me at just how close we come in terms of quality compared to musicals from Broadway or London's West End. Well-made costumes, songs that keep you humming along long after leaving the theatre (I just wished they had a complete soundtrack CD to sell, instead of just one song that came in a compilation CD which I still bought - LOVED that Bobbidi song), hilarious jokes, engaging storyline and distinct characters (I was astounded by the fact that the plentiful characters within were reprised by the same actors/actresses which just shows how good they are at taking on the portrayal of TOTALLY different characters in just a blink of an eye), and that transformation sequence which involved luminated cloths and black light was just jaw-droppingly fabulous!
I've previously seen Isabelle Chiam's performance in "The Swimming Instructor" (which I pretty much went for the male flesh parade, heh heh heh...pardon me for being so superficial...ha ha ha!!!) which I thought she stole that show from the guys then! Her portrayal of Cygna The Ugly Duckling last night was excellent too! The awkwardness, comic timing and endearing quality of the character all shone through. I'm beginning to think I should look out for her future productions - yes, I think she's THAT good! Tan Shou Chen did a good job too with Prince Anura The Frog Prince. But I thought it was more the flamboyant supporting characters that stole the show from the two main leads! Dwayne Lau (whom I remembered from the first season of Singapore Idol) was a REAL HOOT in his dual roles of Edina Chukkabutti (the haughty duck who looked down upon Cygna for her "ugliness", LOVED the Indian accent) and Herodias (the villianous heron, who reminded me of "Dr. Evil" from "Austin Powers"...ha ha ha!!!). I also ADORED Lester and Chester Mustella (played by Hang Chian Chou and Trey Ho), the two bungling weasel sidekicks who thought the world of themselves, who never failed to tickle the audience throughout the entire play. Candice De Rozario, Rayann Condy and Renee Chua also delivered commendable performances as the ever-loving mother duck Anna Merganser, the shy yet fiesty hedgehog guardian Erin Herisson, and the proud kitty Felinda Splay (whom I actually loved more than Ambigua Trellis the witch).
All in all, it was a most enjoyable evening. Ok, I must admit that you cannot compare it to The Phantom of The Opera, Chicago, Wicked, etc, but for a production of its budget, it absolutely surpassed my expectations and was definitely above average. My personal rating?
& 1/2 stars (That's 3.5 stars - Very Good!)
I was even lucky enough to get photographs taken with some of the cast! (Oh yes, and I saw Edmund Chen coming out from the theatre with his kids at the end! Yup, this show even attracted the stars!)
Thanks again Caron for the extravagant treat for my birthday!!! Really LOVED it!!!
So, do go down and support the show if you have the time ok? You can get tickets from here: