Earlier today, The Toddler and I once again returned to the Esplanade after a brief hiatus for The Magic Ocean, a PLAYtime! production. (In 2013, we saw Hello Yasmin, Let’s Play Pretend and Out of the Box.)
PLAYtime! is an interactive theatre series for children aged two to four. The Magic Ocean, which invites children on an underwater adventure starring a turtle, a whale, a crab and a school of fish, is directed by Ian Loy and features memorable music by Stan X Soap.
The Magic Ocean lacked a narrative arc; the production leapt from song to song, scene to scene, with no transition. And without a coherent storyline—a definite beginning and end—there are no stakes for the viewer to be invested in. (This has been my criticism of several previous PLAYtime! productions as well.)
But, despite PLAYtime!’s flaws, we return month after month, year after year because PLAYtime! is children’s theatre that takes risks, and is child-centric and playful. The company boasts brilliant actors, namely Cheryl Kuek and Rizman Putra who each, in The Magic Ocean, played multiple roles. And PLAYtime’s colorful, interactive, multimedia sets and props always inspire. The Magic Ocean, for example, featured several enchanting shadow puppet sequences.
The Magic Ocean closes on February 15. Weekday performances are at 9:30AM and 11AM. Weekend performances are at 11AM, 2PM, and 4PM. The Mandarin-language production* opens on February 27 and runs until March 1. Weekday performances are at 9:30AM, 11AM, and 4PM. Weekend performances are at 11AM, 2PM, and 4PM.
(*High-quality Mandarin-language early childhood resources [books, theatre, playgroups, etc.] are plentiful here. Less so for Singapore’s other “official” languages and nonexistent for other languages spoken by many Singapore residents. But that is a post for another day.)