Preview Guide

Star Crossed L(over)-load

By Jo TanEvents - 04 February 2014 12:00 AM | Updated 1:57 PM

Star Crossed L(over)-load

The Capulets from Toy Factory's 'Romeo & Juliet'

Romeo & Juliet with bite: Toy Factory's ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Toy Factory is known for doing young, sexy, and adventurous retellings of theatrical classics, such as its previous production of ‘Equus’ with young actor Ethan Chia's full-frontal nudity, or its 2013 theatrical production of ‘Glass Anatomy’, a popular movie originally set in a poor Chinese village, transformed to a stage spectacle starring nubile pop star Della Ding Dang dancing among abstract scaffolding structures.  

You can be sure that their reinterpretation of Shakespeare's classic will be equally full of eye-candy: The titular stars are played by Benjamin Kheng, the fetching frontman of internationally acclaimed indie-pop band The Sam Willows, and the lovely singer/actress Ethel Yap. 

In the meantime, a host of other toothsome co-stars have been gathered, with Malaysian singer/actor Aaron Khaled and Singaporean singer/actor Timothy Wan playing Romeo's best friends, and the likes of musical stars Caleb Goh and Dwayne Tan playing attractive authority figures. With all these crooners, plus songwriter Elaine Chan in the mix, and Toy Factory's reputation of being very adventurous with their adaptations, you can guess that this production isn't at all going to be your standard Shakespeare, but a show that literally aims to hit some high notes.

Goh said, “Baz Luhrmann revolutionized this classic. Who says it can't be revolutionized again, by a theatre company? When you take the beauty of this text and put it to song, you get something distinctly beautiful, unique, in the frame of the iambic pentameter.”

Yap, playing Juliet, agreed, “Some people think Shakespeare is sacred, and setting the words to song goes against that. I think differently: Music elevates the text, fills in the emotions of the story.”

Date: 13-23 Feb | Time: Tue and Thu-Sat, 3.30pm & 8pm; Wed & Sun, 3.30pm | Venue: Drama Centre Theatre | Address: #05-01, National Library, 100 Victoria St. | Tickets: $49-69 from Sistic


LaSalle College of the Art's ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Romeo & Juliet for newbies: LaSalle College of the Art's ‘Romeo and Juliet’

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is largely about two love-struck, hormonally charged teens, and with an acting school's production, you'll find performers as close to their characters as you can get.

Even the creatives are young: 27 year-old Erwin Shah Ismail, previously nominated in the Life! Theatre Awards for his own stellar turn as Mercutio in Wild Rice's ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (2012), fills the assistant director's post. 

“Our cast is definitely very young and beautiful,” Erwin laughed.

“There are areas they are not perfect in, that we need to work on, but being first and second years in LaSalle's acting course, their adolescence and exuberance is natural. I have been lucky enough to witness some of Singapore's finest actors, like Neo Swee Lin and Lim Kay Siu, work on their roles in the W!ld Rice production, and am going to try to help (the students) stretch their own characters,” Erwin added.

Indeed, expect no low-quality hamming from this cast, students or not. LaSalle College of the Arts is hailed as one of the best arts schools in Asia, and regularly turns out young stars. Perhaps best of all, this preview of future top thespians is free of charge: just make sure you register your seat.

Date: 25-28 Feb | Time: 7.30pm | Venue: Theatre@LaSalle | Address: 1 McNally St. | Free | Register at


Classic Romeo & Juliet: Singapore Dance Theatre's ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Most local productions of the classic have taken the story out of its native ancient Verona and set it in modern times. 

However, if you want to see the tale of the warring Italian families in all their olden aristocratic glory, you can count on the super scale of Singapore Dance Theatre pieces to return a glittering opulence to the tale with gorgeously extravagant period costumes and sets.

The choreography is ambitious too, originally created by Singapore's forefather of ballet, Goh Choo San, to a soaring score by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Expect this ballet to cut straight to the heart of this epic. 

Date: 13-16 Mar | Time: Thu 8pm, Sat 1pm & 8pm, Sun 1pm & 7pm | Venue: Esplanade Theatre | Address: Raffles Ave. | Tickets: $30-70 from Sistic