High expectations were set, but Singapore-themed musical fails to deliver

We first talked about the Filipino-helmed, Filipino-produced, and largely Filipino-starring musical, Singapura, all the way back in January.

The musical focuses on the lives of ordinary Singaporeans during the years 1955-1965.

“The story of the musical must be about the nameless and faceless heroes of the modern Singaporean economy.”

-Ed Gatchalian
President; 4th Wall Theatre Company

The musical finally started its run last week (19 May), and the reviews have been largely negative, even by mainstream media.

Wow, it must be really bad then.

What TODAY said


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Mind you, Singapore is only 50 years old.


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2.5 hours minus 2 hours = 30 mins. So that makes for only a half hour of bearable theatre.


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In short, Singapura: The Musical is your social studies textbook being played out in reel life. No controversies there, and certainly no mention of opposition figures of the past.


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*insert posh fake accent here* “How to go to the kopitiam….lah?”

Reviewer Karin Lai did however reserve some praise for the theatrical set-up. She ended her review by commenting that as Singapore moves past 50 years, we should all be more prepared to face the ugly parts of our history and know of other great men (not necessarily in white) who contributed to Singapore’s progress.

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What The Straits Times said


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See what I mean? Negative, negative, negative.


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Reviewer Corrie Tan did not even bother mincing her words. Ouch.


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“I need an MC for tomorrow please; my head hurts from watching that musical.” (What we think Tan must have told her boss the next day)


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Siala.

I feel pretty bad for the cast and production crew though; there’s nothing quite as bad as watching your hard work and effort come to naught just because of technical glitches.

I would know, because I did a theatrical production before and I was the one who screwed up the audio bit of our performance.

Sorry, Ms Bridget.


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Get your tickets

I feel pretty weird putting in this sub-section right after my compilation of all the negative bits of the musical. But anyway, here are the nitty-gritty details just in case you still want to watch the production and see for yourself just how good (or bad) it is. Also, here’s a handy yardstick to measure the quality of the musical, courtesy of one of the reviews.

“The strength of a good musical is its ability to bring out the universal in the very specific.”

Singapura: The Musical will run from 19 May to 28 June, at the Capitol Theatre. There are no shows on Monday. Tickets are priced from $65 to $175, excluding a $3 booking fee. 

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Featured Image via Singapura: The Musical
With reference to TODAY, The Straits Times