Toy Factory’s stage adaptation is a joyous triumph of dance and drama.
Contributed By Yeo Zhi Qi
Adapted and directed by award-winning Singaporean playwright and director Goh Boon Teck of Toy Factory Productions, 881 The Musical remains true to the spirit of the top-grossing 2007 film of the same name by Singaporean director Royston Tan. The musical tells a story of passion and struggle as it follows the lives of the Papaya Sisters who dream of making it big as getai (a street variety show staged during the Hungry Ghost Festival) singers. Receiving the blessings from the goddess of getai, the sisters are forbidden to fall in love, adding yet another other-wordly dimension to this blockbuster musical.
It was not just the catchy songs that kept the audience engaged; the superb choreography against a constantly evolving set left them enthralled throughout the musical. Admittedly, there were some cheesy lines here and there but overall, the standards reached by this local production are seriously impressive.
With Joanna Dong, Judee Tan, Nat Ho, Sebastian Tan and Dennis Chew as part of the 20-member cast, Beatrice Chia-Richmond as the in-theatre director and Royston Tan as the creative consultant, the musical achieves a perfect balance between loud, fast-paced songs and slow, soulful ones, giving the audience a good mix of climaxes and breaks.
Powerful vocals, meaningful Mandarin and Hokkien lyrics, and flamboyant costumes combine to make 881 The Musical a polished act, keeping the theatregoer on the edge of her seat for a good two and a half hours.
881 The Musical plays till May 1 at The Esplanade Theatre. Tickets at S$40 to S$100 from SISTIC.