Ok, let’s be upfront about it – anyone who wants to re-stage an iconic Singaporean musical in the SG50 year will have their work cut out for them. Especially since this could probably the last locally produced musical to wrap up the SG50 celebrations and especially since the year opened with a near-flop (Singapura, the musical – have the actors all been paid?), had an overwhelming response with LKY the Musical (did everyone get their tickets?) during the National Day season and now this, staged in the newly refurbished Victoria Theatre no less.
Being a family of musical lovers, we were looking forward to watching Beauty World 2015 and I must say, it didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, we found it highly engaging, humorous (oh the puns and the comedic timing!) but most of all, meaningful to relive the early days of Singapore’s independence where there was keen search for love, identity and acceptance both as a nation and individually as a people. All these, accompanied with music written by Dick Lee with tunes that lends that signature Asian Singaporean flavor to it.
The incredibly talent Beauty World 2015 cast and directors
In light of having a future-centric outlook to almost everything that is Singapore in this SG50 year, it’s rather symbolic that the cast is a relatively younger one with local TV actress Jeanette Aw in the lead as Lulu , the Prima-Donna of Beauty World Cabaret. The cast in general lived up to their roles and in particular their ability to convincingly portray their characters in the 1960s.
Jeanette Aw as Lulu, the lead Cabaret girl in Beauty World
In fact, so good are they that they left this audience member beaming proudly especially seeing the likes of Cheryl Tan, in the lead as Ivy the small town Malaysian girl coming to Singapore to seek out her father. We’ve watched Cheryl in numerous children’s productions by the Singapore Repertory Theatre and have always taken a liking to her lively, innocent and bubbly roles which she portrays. Naturally as Ivy Chan Poh Choo, her role has taken a slightly tragic background and Cheryl delivered that with aplomb. Emoting with conviction while delivering the songs with crystal clear clarity.
Cheryl Tan captured our hearts as the naive, innocent girl from Batu Pahat who travelled to Singapore in search of her father…
Acting alongside her is Timothy Wan playing Ah Hock, the cabaret bouncer who falls in love with Ivy. The chemistry between these two are obvious and brought a whole lot of realism into the fictitious pre-independence Singapore setting. In between the gaiety and the gyrating hips, it was Cheryl and Timothy who brought the vulnerability and fragility of human emotions to the audiences. They are two promising actors to look out for in local theatre scenes. Completing the cast are a mix of young upcoming actors as well as seasoned ones with the likes of Janice Koh, Timothy Wan and the vivacious Frances Lee as Ivy’s ditzy pen friend, Rosemary Joseph.
You can’t complete a review of this musical without mentioning its songs. For the first time, the composer is also directing the play. The songs are typical Dick Lee – catchy with witty lyrics sprinkled with a tinge of local flavor, with many lines which are either melodious, infectious (or both) that leaves us humming them long after the musical has ended. Worth noting is also the live band – something which is a bonus: to be able to hear music performed live just adds to the level of enjoyment no less. Kudos to the band!
This SG50 year is a year where Singapore comes of age and this musical certainly celebrates that with a throwback reminiscent of the early days but with a young, promising cast that, if this afternoon’s performance were to be any indication of, has firmly secured Singapore’s bright future in theatres and musicals!
Don’t miss the chance to catch the cha-cha-cha charming Beauty World 2015!
Beauty World 2015 Musical
Show Dates: 13 November to 12 December 2015
Show Times: 8pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 3 and 8pm (Saturdays), 3pm (Sunday).
Show Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (with 15 minutes interval)
Venue: Victoria Theatre
Tickets priced from S$28 to S$128 are available on Sistic or its booking hotline (+65 6348 5555). Discounts here.