On Friday, my toddler and I caught The Nightingale, a musical theatre production by The Little Company, a division of The Singapore Repertory Theatre. This retelling of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen is the story of “an emperor who prefers the tinkling of a bejeweled mechanical bird to the song of a real nightingale.”
The music, by Ruth Ling, was fantastic; we are still singing several of the songs days later. Ann Lek (The Kitchenmaid) and Timothy Wan (The Lord Protector) were animated and full of expression, just perfect for theatre written for wee ones. The writing, by Mike Kenny, was outstanding. The spoken dialogue was rendered in couplets! And I particularly enjoyed a beautifully-staged shadow-puppetry sequence.
However, I found the hand puppetry to be somewhat clumsy and spiritless (though the toddler seemed to be enchanted by the scrawny, brown nightingale) and the choreography, by Trev Neo, to be a bit sloppily-executed. These, admittedly minor, flaws detracted from my total enjoyment of this play.
Still, The Nightingale was a wonderfully entertaining way to spend a Friday morning!
The Nightingale runs through on September 14. Weekday performances are at 10AM and 2PM (selected days). Weekend performances are at 11AM and 2PM. The Nightingale (夜莺) will also be staged in Mandarin from September 18 to October 11.