Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Lion King in Merlion City

“♪Maaaaaaaa-zee-payniaaaaah♫" ...I literally had a chill run up my spine and goosebumps on my skin as the show opened with the familiar ‘Circle of Life’ song. How many times my parents had to endure the multiple re-runs of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ on our VCR player, I have no idea. I think it was only when the tape had gone mouldy and beyond cleaning rescue that I reluctantly retired it!

For the uninitiated or those too young to have seen ‘The Lion King’ animation film as a kid, here’s my very own relationship map to help you get up to speed:

Back to the musical, this production by Andrew Llyod Webber comprised of scenes and a script which followed that of the original animation almost to a T.  I know 'cos I could almost mouth the script along with the actors on stage, that's how many re-runs I made, lol.  A little odd that Rafiki turned out to be a woman though, I always thought it was a old male baboon? Hmmmm.  That definitely threw me a little off track, but since Rafiki isn't really the main protagonist here, I'm gonna let it slide... :)

Housed at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands, the tickets for the show are rather pricey, starting from S$65 up to S$240 for the Premium seats which come with a gift and drink.  I sprang for the Category A Reserve tickets at S$185 a pop - for a whole S$60 less, I think I could do without the gift and drink.  The seating for Cat A is no worse off than the Premium seats.  Also, if you know of folk working in the bigger companies in Singapore, you may want to ask around to see if any of them have access to corporate discounts.  I've heard some companies have discounts up to a whopping 50% off - and some of these erm, entrepreneurial folk are even selling these originally discounted tickets at retail prices over the Internet. -_-"  I'd advise to purchase your tickets through the official channel Sistic, or through an immediate friend/relative to play it safe.

The production runs 8 times a week, once a day at 8PM, with an additional 2PM show on Sundays.  Ticketing runs the same for both the 2 PM and 8 PM shows.  From personal experience, it is perhaps recommended to attend the 8 PM shows on a weekday if you want to decrease your chances of sharing the theatre with loud, chatty kids and their inconsiderate parents around you.  Yes, I know this is supposed to be a children's story... but hey, we're in an adult setting here, this ain't your living room.  We expect silence at a $10 movie screening, what more at a $200 musical?  Really, some of us have just not yet learnt the meaning of 'consideration for others'.  UGH.

In comparison to the Esplanade theatres, the Sands theatre seems a tad smaller, although the limited stage area was rather well utilized for The Lion King.  Revolving and hidden platforms within the stage keep things interesting when you would least expect it.  Acoustics within the theatre are decent too, and the audience has a clear view of the orchestra in front of the stage.  Two small balconies on either side of the stage house two percussionists on the traditional African instruments, immersing the audience even deeper into the Africa scene.

My gripes about the Sands Theatre:
  • Warm air-conditioning (or none at all?).
    Not sure if it was a malfunction, but the air conditioning did not seem to be operational on the afternoon I was there.  Having read that 'the theatres could get quite chilly' from the MBS website, I had dressed slightly warmer than our insipid tropical weather would call for.  Boy, I think if the theatre had been any warmer, I would surely have started sweating.  Even my party members dressed in thin cottony tops were very aware that the theatre was warm!  Later on, during the 2nd half of the show, I thought I heard the air-conditioning roar to life, and it really did seem slightly cooler after that... Oh well.  Only the management of MBS will know the truth behind the matter, not that it's something worth pursuing (unless they would like to offer my party and I complimentary passes so that we can truly enjoy the show in comfort like it was meant to be? Heh~).

  • Hard knock seats
    Rather appalled at the quality of the seats, really.  For such an atas place, you would expect at least Cathay cinema standards - ample leg room, fully cushioned chair.  But noooooo, the seats were more reminscent of the old Lido cinema seats.  Cushioned seats with wooden backings.  OH. MY. GAWD. Never mind that the spacing between rows was so tiny, you could acutely feel every single kick or tap against your chair!

Despite the crappy air ventilation, uncomfortable seat and extra unwanted narration by the prudes behind me, I reallllllly enjoyed The Lion King.  So much so that I listened to the soundtrack for days after the musical, and that I'm really contemplating bringing my folks to see it.  Ohhhhh yeah, I'm gonna make them sit through the re-run one last time - but this time, it's gonna be 'LIVE' in the flesh!

Anyone with steeply discounted tickets to share? ;)
Posted by dawn.wong on 7/05/2011 10:44:00 PM in , , ,