“TRAINSTOPPING: The Year in Revue 2011” by SIGHTS LINES PRODUCTIONS (Singapore) – WATCH OUT for the New Names on the “Board”!!! Don’t Play Play, eh??

28th April 2012 (Saturday), 8pm

The Arts House, Chamber

 

WATCH OUT for the new names on the board, like New Theatre Company, “SIGHT LINES PRODUCTIONS” (established by three friends, Derrick Chew, Engie Ho and Sylvia Tan in 2011), New Director / producer Derrick Chew who is also the founder of SIGHT LINES (winner of “Best Film”, 20th Singapore International Film Festival, director of local film “Balik Kampung”- Coming Home) and New Playwright Jeremy Yew (First winner of TheatreWorks Writers’ Lab 24-hour Playwriting Competition 2011 – “The Sins of Our Children”, Top 10 shortlisted plays in “Short + Sweet” Playwriting Competition 2010 – “Short + Salty”).

Coming together, they are presenting to us their first professional stage production, “TRAINSTOPPING: The Year in Revue 2011” which promise to bring you the fullness of laughter (“TRAINSTOPPING” will make you laugh your guts out so much, you’ll need cable ties to hold them back together) while you take the ride on with them to recap of what were the “zaniest, wackiest … and craziest” happenings in Singapore last year, from SMRT train delays to Orchard Road’s flooding incidents; from the unusual sight of the incredible hunks lining at opening of Abercrombie & Fitch in Orchard to the arrival of Big Name Musicals like Broadway’s “Lion King” and “Wicked” in Singapore – anything under the sun in our little red dot that you might have thought of or not expected of… “TRAINSTOPPING” has on their full grit in bringing you a ride that you will never forget; fully packed with local jokes which most Singaporeans will be able to identify with, especially tailor-made for you, in hope to winning your one laugh or two.

“TRAINSTOPPING” was indeed very entertaining that I had been enjoying myself throughout in this approximately 90 minutes long Musical revue. As it is a revue (a show in a theatre that includes songs, dances, and jokes about recent events), there will be no full storyline or any main characters, each performer will have multiple roles to play and that the fun of it!

This amazing play has no trace to me that it is captained by a list of fresh comers in the directorial & producer side, as well as in the concept & writing segment in their major roles in the backstage while running frontline are our well-known local theatre favourites, the three artists, Siti Khalijah Zainal (winner of LIFE! Theatre Awards 2011 “Model Citizens” and also main lead in  other well-known plays like “Gemuks Girls” & “Nadirah”, etc), Celine Rosa Tan (7th DBS Life awards in Singapore, took part in local Musical by Dick Lee “Forbidden City” & “Fried Rice Paradise”, etc) and Darius Tan (“Aladdin” & “Fried Rice Paradise”, etc) .

And of course, there are also many well-known names, like Music director / arranger Joel Nah, Chorographer Cathy Kee, Video Producer Josiah Ng, Production Stage Manager Petrina Dawn Tan and Associate Producers Engie Ho and Sylvia Tan. From the programme book, I also noticed that actor, Darius Tan, is also involved in the writing of lyrics with Derrick Chew, as well as the playwriting part with Jeremy Yew.

Furthermore, Celine and Siti also contributed with additional materials in this revue, which I can imagine that it is such a wonderful collaboration where everyone comes together, giving what is best in their talents in presenting us the audiences the BEST of the best performance they can in order to make our money worth (Oops! So Singaporeans’ mentality! =P) No lah, No lah, to rephrase it again, is to make our day and in hope that we have an enjoyable & memorable time during the show with them! =)

“TRAINSTOPPING” has been running since last Thursday, 26th April, and I’m sure it has already becoming a “SMASH” HIT in our local theatre circle that it is hard for you not to take notice of them on the increasing number of viewers in their uploading Youtube MTV, “Don’t Break Our Glass” and the rolling feedbacks from Twitters & Facebook. This strong wave of “SMASH” not only will bring new voices in our local theatre field but also it will be going to “break” the boundary between the audience and them, giving you a new “sight lines” in our seems small but comprehensive theatre industry.

They are surely the promising names, no matter they are from the new or old ‘period’; you will want to take notice of them in the future!

By the way, “TRAINSTOPPING” will be ending this Thur, 3 May, 8pm @The Arts House! If you have not caught the Train; Don’t Miss your last chance! =p

If you miss it, you really don’t know how much fun you have been missed out!!!

Come On the Joyride! ^^V

Tickets available at Bytes, www.bytes.sg

***

Please don’t read the following if you have not watched the play.

SPOILER ALERT!

My thoughts on “TRAINSTOPPING” now…. dododododo……

While waiting for the show to start, I’m all excited for the clock to strike 8 to see the three energetic performers, Siti, Celine and Darius appears before my eyes.

They not only act, but also dance and sing, bringing songs which are familiar to us, with catchy tunes but the lyrics are cleverly rewrote to suit for the scenarios.

Out of the three artists, I’m more familiar with Siti as the past performances which I had watched happen to have her. The first two times I saw her in “Nadirah” & “Gemuks Girls” she was in her ‘serious’ roles, but only in The Necessary Stage, “SINGAPORE” then I had the chance to see her in a more comical role and also realised she is indeed a very gifted actress who not only can act very well in her ‘serious’ role but also have the ability to make the audience laugh. To add on further, in “SINGAPORE”, I also delighted to discover that Siti actually has a very good voice when she sang “I Won’t Last A Day Without You” by The Carpenters. Her voice is sweet and full of emotions.

Her performance in “TRAINSTOPPING” has double double confirmed to me that she is not only very very funny but can also sing very well too!

Many scenes which make me laugh from ear to ear, are mostly because of Siti and of course, the brilliant craft of the script too.

Even the most unexpected moment which I would think I will laugh to tears, but indeed I have, is in this part when Siti and Celine dressed in their guard uniform (resemble the police officers or guards we see patrolling around the MRT stations), carrying a rifle each in their arms, looking ‘fierce’ with their suspicious eyes roaming around the room, as they approach two of the audience members (at a separate time) and ask them to open their bags because they look ‘suspicious’, and Siti’s overly ‘serious’ look while telling the ‘suspicious’ characters – ‘Well, we found nothing (in your bag) but… (after that she points her two fingers to her eyes and then to the person, to and fro) …we are watching you!” she ‘warns’ the person again. From the look of Siti’s eyes, I cannot help but laugh and laugh by her ‘that-kind-of-look-type’ of expression!

I think Celine has co-operated well with Siti in this part, as the chemistry between them are so good that the two of them have created such a hilarious “tension” scene, that though from when I’m sitting I could not see the expressions of the two ‘suspicious’ characters who have “kena” (gotten) examination, from my imagination I can imagine how they may look like (must be quite shock with a little bit of blur look), plus Siti and Celine’s as-if “serious” and overly “unbelieved” look , I’m trying to hide my laugh (because it is rather rude to laugh at people’s “misfortunate”) but I end up giggling until my tears roll.

I guess I may have a “little-devil” inside me, when see people in troubles (of course, not in real life), I’m very “happy” to see how they are going to respond, like what you see in some of the TV shows whereby we laugh to see how people react when meet with some unforeseen circumstances with a hidden camera somewhere or stuffs, isn’t it??

The second funniest I find is Siti’s monologue when she shares about her “long” distance relationship with her fiancé, as she is living in the extreme West while her sweetheart is staying in the extreme East, and during their courtship, she is the one who mostly has to travel all the way from West to East by MRT to meet him, therefore from her many travelling experiences, she has become a MRT traveller expert – until she knows from one look to distinguish whether the passenger on train is from the East, or from the West; and also masters the skill of how to ‘aim’ to grab her seat, etc. Siti’s performance here is very cute and funny. The lyrics of the song in this part, I feel that is very well written and can rhyme excellently also!

Others funny moments for me are the Orchard Road’s Liat Towers flooding (Siti’s Wendy look is very adorable), the “just before” the rain struck’s snapshots, Arts is a dumping ground & the Adrian Pang ‘lawyer’ jokes, the Do’s & Don’ts in/at the train and MediaCorp’s Tay Pin Hui’s joke.

Actually it is more difficult to write and present a comedy than any other plays, as it is more difficult to make one laugh than cry. Yet “Trainstopping” has managed to pump in the laughing gas almost 80% of the show which is very encouraging!

Apart from the above which I have shared, not all the jokes are super funny, some are either too common or fall flat, where you had heard similar jokes having told or presented else where many times before already. Some examples like lamenting too many times of “Wah-Lau Wei” with additional of Hokkien vulgarity or speak in the Mainland slang, and other jokes may be too straightforward that it has lost its ability to be called witty. Although they are good efforts nevertheless, and I’m sure one person’s opinion on humour is different from another person, maybe the jokes I might not know how to appreciate, they might be well-received by others. =)

Another person I would like to specially mention is Celine, this is the first time I had watched her performance and I am very impressed by her singing – She has a powerful voice. I like her especially when she sings the song of “Getting to know you” from ‘King & I’ I think, and also when she sing the rewrite song from ‘The Sound of Music’ – “Do, Re, Mi” when she speaks in her very British’s accent, teaching us how to pronounce correctly from “Kem-Bang-Gan” to “Tam-Pines”, though in this segment in term of degree of humour is considered mild to me, I would like to say that it is very creative and observant for the writing board to bring it up!

Overall, it is a great performance by Siti, Celine and Darius, to enable to turn “TRAINSTOPPING” to be a successful comedy revue, without their genius acting abilities, even with the best script this play might be less interesting!

And last but not least, smart moves of SIGHT LINES’s far sights in knowing how to choose good topics which closer to all Singaporeans’ hearts to stage and also good marketing strategy in recording the MTV of “Don’t Break Our Glass”  to release about two weeks before the show’s opening, so that most of the audiences are familiar with the song, and no wonder make it easier for everyone singing (and also feel like dancing) along with performers at the finale just shortly after this song has begun. Hey! This is really a very catchy and lively song! I love it very much!

It is also an unique plan at the end of the show after the applause of the performers, there is an announcement that the train is ‘breakdown’ again and the audiences are ushered line by line out of the Chamber room by the “MRT’s crews” (Siti, Celine & Darius).

***

Everyone who involves in the “TRAINSTOPPING” production has no intention to stop their dreams in venturing their journeys into the Theatre’s field; it is never a stopping, this is just the beginning!

SIGHT LINES PRODUCTIONS will be staging another play soon, “BOOM” by Jean Tay from 29th June – 8th July 2012, at DBS Arts Centre, Home of SRT. Tickets at SISTIC.

The next upcoming plan for Playwright Jeremy Yew will be preparation of recording of his favourite collection of children Gospel songs which composed by him over the years into CD albums and of course, he will continue in pursuing his ambition to write a book and songs of his own full-length musical, and to have it on stage one day!

Wow! Dreams are only made possible with perseverance and actions!

All the Best to ALL! ^^V

— withDerrick ChewSiti Khalijah ZainalJeremy Yew,Darius TanPetrina Dawn Tan and Celine Rosa Tan

3 comments on ““TRAINSTOPPING: The Year in Revue 2011” by SIGHTS LINES PRODUCTIONS (Singapore) – WATCH OUT for the New Names on the “Board”!!! Don’t Play Play, eh??

  1. Jeremy says:

    Thank you for your fabulously detailed review!

    Jeremy Yew

  2. Derrick says:

    Hi Tu Zi,
    I am Derrick, Artistic Director of Sight Lines Productions. Thank you for your kind words. I would like to include you in our media listings and invite you for our press night in our subsequent productions.

    Can you please email me your details? My email address is derrick@sightlines.com.sg

    Thank you so much!

    Derrick.

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