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What’s on stage: Music, theatre and comedy in Singapore, September 2013

September has it all – comedy, concerts, kiddie theatre, kites and opera.

One of the most loved and widely performed operas 

Ultimate Sacrifice

Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) presents Verdi’s La Traviata. Lose yourself in the passionate performances of Violetta and Alfredo as they attempt to follow their hearts while appeasing the expectations of their families and society. This tale of love and sacrifice is still very relevant today. Don’t miss the limited season at the Esplanade Theatre (8pm) on 6, 7, 9 and 10 September.

Tickets range from $28 (standard) to $130 (VIP box). 6348 5555 | sistic.com.sg


Rock On

Singapore’s increasing popularity sees more international acts streaming in for one-night-only events. Catch the likes of Suede, One Republic and Matchbox Twenty between now and November.

• Suede: 27 September (8pm), The Coliseum (Resorts World Sentosa). $115 or $130 on the door.
• One Republic: 29 October (8pm), The Coliseum (Resorts World Sentosa). $128 or $148 on the door.
• Matchbox Twenty: 10 November (8pm), Singapore Indoor Stadium. $68 for a seat and $98 for stage-side standing room.

Tickets from Sistic. 6348 5555 | sistic.com.sg


I Can See Clearly Now

June’s haze put a downer on kite-flying events, but the sky has cleared and Grand Flying Days (31 August and 1 September) is set to be one colourful and fun weekend. Bring the kids (large and small) for kite exhibits and workshops, food and entertainment. Don’t forget your camera and kite! Check the Facebook page for updates.

From 4pm to 8pm at The Promontory at Marina Bay.


It’s Not Easy Being Green

The Tale of the Frog Prince is a Brothers Grimm fairytale-turned-play, targeted at two-to-six-year-olds, featuring lively music, singing, dancing and joking, plus the all-important moral of the story: “What’s on the inside counts!”.

The show runs until 29 September with morning performances (10am) from Tuesday to Friday and twice-daily shows (11am and 2pm) on weekends.

Weekday tickets $18 to $21; weekend tickets $26 to $29. Group discounts and family packages available. DBS Arts Centre, 20 Merbau Road. 6733 8166 | srt.com.sg | sistic.com.sg



An original new comedy by award-winning Singaporean playwright Goh Boon Teck explores the life of the Singaporean male, contrasting public and private personas. The Penis Society is a dramatised talk show that features three razor-sharp guys in a satirical debate about male Singaporean culture as they perceive it. The hour-long play is on nightly (8.30pm) at Aquanova Bar from 10 to 29 September (except Mondays and Fridays, and Wednesday 25 September). Block C, #01-09 Clarke Quay.

Tickets ($29) from Sistic and EventClique or $31 at the door. Call 6222 1526 for more information.


Noble Laughs

Co-founder of The Comedy Club Asia, comedian Jonathan Atherton gives us a heads-up about the festival of laughs: Kings and Queen of Comedy Asia.

Now in its fourth year, what makes this event so popular? You also host popular monthly comedy shows – do you think are we starved of laughs in Singapore?

Singaporeans were recently rated the unhappiest people on earth. I don’t believe that. However, they may well be among the most stressed-out. Too stressed to reproduce, apparently. Laughter is an excellent release for stress and a natural aphrodisiac. So it is very valuable to the Republic.  

Asian audiences were introduced to stand-up and Western-centric comedy through the internet and cable TV networks like Comedy Central. I think Asian people want to hear funny stories from Asian people about Asian people and lifestyles. Expats also want to hear jokes about Asia and Asian culture. Of course the material isn’t going to be all about Asia. In fact, most of it probably won’t be. It will be about relationships or shopping or holidays… things we all relate to. What makes comedy work is the shared assumptions between the performer and the audience. 

A veteran of the Singapore comedy scene, Kumar is performing in the show again. What is Kumar’s appeal?

It wouldn’t be Kings and Queen without Kumar. Originally, we wanted to call the show “Kings of Comedy Asia”, but that title didn’t seem to fit well with Kumar in the line-up. Enter the Queen. Kumar’s appeal is universal, though to be honest, if you’d just arrived in Singapore you might have a hard time understanding his colourful use of Singlish. He presents a deep insight into Singaporean life and the way multiculturalism works. Kumar is a Singapore icon.

How do comedians fill their days when they are not on the stage?

All of the comedians on the bill are professional comedians. Like doctors, teachers or bus drivers, very few have a second job. Comedians generally do not follow orders very well. They are quick-witted, opinionated and self-centred. Apart from law and politics, they are not really suited to real jobs. I couldn’t really say how most spend their days. I imagine sleeping would be high on the list.

Can you give us an insight into how comedians overcome stage fright?

Some comics get anxious before going on; some just barrel out and do their thing. But there should always be a certain level of fear. Let the fear be with you, I say. It means you care. It creates adrenaline. And adrenaline is what fuels stand-up. That’s why comics are known to stay up all night and party after a show. It’s very weird having enough adrenaline in your system to defend the village against invading hordes when all you’ve done is chatted for 40 minutes. You’ve got to burn it up somehow.

The Kings and Queen line-up:

Jonathan Atherton, Australia

Kumar, Singapore

Danny Bhoy, Scotland

Imran Yusuf, UK

Sheng Wang, US

See Kings and Queen of Comedy Asia at 9pm on 4 and 5 October at The Esplanade Theatre.
Tickets from Sistic. thecomedyclub.asia