{Review} Catch A Taste of The Forbidden |Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress

I’ve heard so much about this wonderful Dick Lee musical Forbidden City : Portrait of an Empress starring Kit Chan but each time it was staged before, I was out stationed. No wonder then that the hubs and I were really looking forward to finally go to the Esplanade Theatres to catch this well-loved classic and of course to see Kit Chan on stage!


Local theatre goers must have this epic musical as their 2017 Must Do, Must Watch musical and who could challenge that? Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress first commissioned by Esplanade- Theatres on the Bay for Esplanade’s Opening Festival in October 2002 has had a sell-out season at each restaging (in Sept 2003 and 2006).

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Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress is the story of Empress Dowager Ci Xi (played by Kit Chan), her love story, betrayals and struggles, rise to absolute power, even as China was increasingly being ravaged by foreign powers as the Qing Dynasty struggled to retain control of China.

As the musical opened, I could feel the excitement and anticipation rising in the hushed audience. It was almost unbelievable that I was finally watching this epic musical at the Esplanade. The little one who has a love for history was equally in awe, this being his first ‘adult’ musical! Plus, he was eagerly anticipating watching Kit Chan, the singer of his favourite National Day song – Home! What a treat!

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The Empress Dowager CiXi played by Cheryl Tan, Kit Chan and Sheila Francisco depicting different stages of her life.

The musical wasted no time in introducing the Dragon Lady and very soon we were transported into an unfamiliar time when the Emperor’s rule was absolute and his wants were insatiable (including his harem of concubines). As the older Empress CiXi (played by Sheila Francisco ) recounted her life’s hopes, joys, love, disappointments, struggles we were also given a running history of the ebbs and flows of the Qing Dynasty.

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Forbidden City was a musical treat from the very start. Dick Lee’s beautiful music was equally matched with the excellent vocals of the 2017 cast.

With big shoes to fill, credit must be given to Cheryl Tan who plays the young Yehenara this time instead of Kit Chan. Her voice crystal clear as always, was powerful and captivating. We’ve watched her as Juliet in SRT’s Shakespeare in the Park Romeo & Juliet, as Ivy in Dick Lee’s Beauty World and even as Little Bo Frilly in SRT’s The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and I think this is by far her best musical performance ever. She was calm yet vibrant, playing a more matured heroine this time, putting away her usual more animated and girlish characterisations.

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The young Yehenara (Cheryl Tan) with her hopes so high of finding true love with the Emperor.

Cheryl Tan lifted and refreshed us with her stunning vocals throughout Act One. I think the audience could feel Yehenara’s disappointment and betrayal when the Emperor quite quickly forgot about her after three months of what seemed like a fairy tale love affair. (I was amazed that when one got pregnant by the Emperor, he shelves you!!)

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My favourite has got to be the really entertaining Record Keepers played by Sebastian Tan (Singapore’s favourite Broadway Beng) and Dwayne Lau (SRT’s Treasure Island). They were just the perfect amount of humour and wit! The Record Keepers were brilliant and everyone in the audience adored them… maybe because they added the light-hearted fun in an otherwise depressing storyline perhaps? haha…

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I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t disappointed that we had to wait till Act Two before Kit Chan came on. Although every part of Act One was enjoyable, I still wished that the talented Kit Chan was on stage earlier and sang more… for she did not disappoint. Her well trained vocals was not only emotive, she commanded the presence only a star like her could. Everyone just could not get enough of her, I know that for a fact.

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Kit made us all feel the deep sorrows a mother (even a Dragon Lady) must have felt for the passing of her child. If there were doubts that Empress Dowager ever cared for anyone, she removed it. How her heart must have broke when Emperor Tung Chih’s life was wasted. I teared as I watched and listened.

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The stage sets were a awesome. Beautiful. Simple yet effective. I especially loved the funeral scene where the stage was opened up to reveal the depth of the really amazing theatre stage of the Esplanade! I had no idea it was so deep… other times when I’ve been to the Esplanade theatres, the productions had never used this to their visual advantage.

Forbidden City is Wey’s first ‘adult’ musical and I was half wondering if he would be able to sit through the 2 hour musical. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried because my 8 year old was totally absorbed throughout. So if you are wondering if your not-so young children will enjoy the musical, I would think so. He was intrigued by the larger than life characters and the story unfolding onstage, the beautiful stage sets and costumes and quite simply the awesome music. In fact, when the musical ended, he actually let out a cry of dismay “Oh?! That’s the end?!!?”; much to the amusement of the people seated around us. Of course, be prepared to answer questions along the lines of : ” Mama, what’s a brothel? Why did the Emperor go there?” ” What disease did he get from the brothel and why?” haha… I took it as a good teaching point moment although I did not quite go into too much details. 🙂

Not all musicals are created equal. It has been more than a decade since Singapore last watched this highly acclaimed iconic made-in Singapore musical and for me, Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress is still as stunning and magical as ever. When you go to see this musical, you will come away in awe at not just the entire production, but an amazement at our local talents.

Don’t miss this amazing timeless musical by local theatre big names or you may have to wait yet another decade for its restaging. Also this may very well be the last time to catch Kit Chan in the role as Empress Ci Xi! If you haven’t already booked tickets, be sure not to be stingy on the tickets, get the best seats for a better view, it’s worth every dollar! I promise! 

Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress plays at the Esplanade Theatre from 8 -27 August 2017. Book Early for the best Category Seats to enjoy the epic musical fully. Tickets available from Esplanade Box Office at https://www.esplanade.com/events/2017/forbidden-city-portrait-of-an-empress, more details at end of post.

Thanks for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums.  If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.  We hope to see you back again soon.

~ SAys! Audrey

We are grateful for the opportunity to attend Forbidden City – Portrait of an Empress, for the purposes of this review. We were not remunerated monetarily for the review, all opinions and experiences remain our own alone. All photos unless otherwise mentioned are copyright of SRT and were provided for the purposes of this review. All other photos remain the copyright property of SAys! Happy Mums and may not be reproduced without prior notice or written permission given.

About Forbidden City – Portrait of an Empress

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When : 8 to 27 August 2017| Tues – Fri: 8pm | Sat : 3pm & 8pm |  Sunday : 1.30pm & 6pm

Where : Esplanade Theatre 

Duration : Approximately 2hrs (including a 20min intermission)

Ticket Pricing :
Tue–Thu, Evening / Sat, Matinee / Sun, Matinee & Evening
Standard: $58, $78, $98, $118
VIP: $128
Restricted View: $38

Fri & Sat, Evening
Standard: $68, $88, $108, $128
VIP: $138
Restricted View: $38

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{Review} The Curious Adventures of Pinocchio | 25 July – 6 Aug 2017

We had such an amazing time last year with Lyngo Theatre at Jack and The Beanstalk, (read our review here) that we were looking forward to this year’s The Curious Adventures of Pinocchio.

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The Curious Adventures of Pinocchio is an excellent retelling of the story of Pinocchio. Artistic Director, Patrick Lynch doesn’t disappoint with his unique style of story telling. This master storyteller was able to put together the entire production on his own. The children were captivated from the minute he appeared onstage and started the narration.  At every corner of the theatre, I could hear children laughing or asking when would Pinocchio’s nose grow longer haha…

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As expected, the props that accompanied his master retelling of the story were simple yet effective. Amidst dusty old books, the magic starts and the story of Pinocchio comes alive on stage. Patrick was able not only to hold the attention of the young audience, he made them laugh gleefully at his playful antics and his curious magical props.

My favourite part must have been when Pinocchio crushes all those ice cream cones (oops! I mean Pinocchio’s long nose) bit by bit by bit after he learns not to lie again.

Wey was spellbound throughout the entire hour. Although there were no actors, and many of the characters in the story that Patrick spoke of were left to imagination only, I could see he was truly absorbed in the story unfolding onstage. At one point, he even exclaimed out loud, “Oh no, this story is tragic…” I was quite surprised at his choice of words because it showed that he was emotionally invested and had empathy for the characters of the story. Therein lies the mastery of Lyngo Theatre’s story telling.

Catch a glimpse of what’s in the show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5XHqO6sOxc&feature=youtu.be and I’m sure you will be clicking on the SISTIC http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/cpino0817   link to get hold of tickets. There is only one more weekend to catch this production at the Drama Centre Black Box, before the run ends on 6 August 2017. Details at end of post.

It’s a pity though that this time, there is no Backstage Workshop Tour special like in Jack and the Beanstalk but Patrick was kind enough to have a short question and answer session that left the children wanting more! haha…. I do so wish that there will be a rerun of Jack and the Beanstalk next year.

Expect a magical experience through interesting props that seem alive eg. a book that grows, a book with a bottomless hole, a log that apparently moves on its own! Wey could not help himself but to ask how this was done during the Q&A session but alas, a secret it must stay hahaha! We need that Backstage Tour again! haha…

It would do well for parents to heed the age advisory of 5 years old and above as the style and attention span and maturity required for this production would not be suitable for any child younger than the recommended. Also, get there early as it is free seating and queues to enter the theatre forms even 10-15mins before show time.

Thank you for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums.  If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.  We hope to see you back again soon.

SAys! Audrey :) 

We are grateful for the opportunity to attend The Curious Adventures of Pinocchio, for the purposes of this review. We were not remunerated monetarily for the review, all opinions and experiences remain our own alone. All photos unless otherwise mentioned are copyright of Act 3 International and were provided for the purposes of this review. All other photos remain the copyright property of SAys! Happy Mums and may not be reproduced without prior notice or written permission given.

About The Curious Adventures of Pinocchio

Act3 Pinnochio

When: 25 July to 6 August 2017| Mon – Fri: 9am | Sat & Sunday : 10.30am & 2.30pm

Where: Drama Centre Black Box

 

Who: 5 years and above and their families

Ticket Pricing : Standard $28 Weekdays, $38 Weekends (Excludes Booking Fee)

Duration: Approximately 60 minutes no interval

Tickets available through:
SISTIC Website

SISTIC Hotline (65) 6348 5555
SISTIC Authorised Agents islandwide


*For School Group Bookings, please call ACT 3 International at 6735 9986

{Media Invite} The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey|A Night of Stunning Vocals

I was so looking forward to go to The Great Wall Musical at the Drama Centre Theatre with the hubby on Thursday night (especially since the kiddo was finally done with his Math Mini- Test).  Date night finally! Away from the crazy homework and mini-tests schedules!

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Part of the excitement was also because it’s been such a long time since we’ve hit the theatres, and what a good one to start with. A brand new original musical based on a beautiful love story with a stellar cast! I was excited to get to see Nathan Hartono sing live on stage too! It was no wonder then that even on a week night, this musical was playing to an almost full house!

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Set in the time of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China, who wants to create a new history, a new One China united under his rule, the musical is based on the legend of Meng Jiang Nü (played by Na-Young Jeon) whose devotion and love for her husband Fan Qi Liang (Nathan Hartono), sends her on a long and arduous journey in search of him after he is captured by the Emperor’s guards to work at The Great Wall.

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Behold the Great Emperor of China

The opening scene with Emperor Qin(played by George Chan) is grand and sets the tone of the times~ where fear of this great tyrant prevails throughout the new One China. The dramatic effect was perfect, with the Emperor perched up high against the dark backdrop.  We were transported immediately into those fearful tyrannical times where everyone’s existence is for the pleasure of one man- the Emperor.

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The Emperor commands that all males be conscripted to build his Great Wall and all scholars be killed!

I think it safe to say that every single person in the audience was moved by the singing of Na-Young Jeon. She was amazing. Her voice crystal clear and beautiful. Her singing lifted our spirits as she found love and fell sweetly and deeply in love to runaway scholar Fan Qi Liang. We felt her misery, her helplessness and desperation when her beloved was arrested and taken away by the Emperor’s Guards. We wanted to run with her and journey with her as she went in search of her husband to see him again. Na-Young Jeon made Meng Jiang Nü real… our sister in a desperate situation. (I hear Ethel Yap’s performance as Meng Jiang Nü is equally enthralling)

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The beautiful lovebirds

I really enjoyed watching the two well matched lovebirds on stage. Nathan Hartono did not disappoint. Handsome as he sang away to melt our hearts (hahah) but a pity I felt he didn’t seem to have as many singing parts as I had hoped. In fact, I have a nasty suspicion that his air-time was far lesser than the Women in the Village!! But then again that could be just me? If only there was more of Nathan and Na-Young… the night would have been perfect! haha..

Even so, every song in this 2.5 hour long musical was delightful with stunningly good singing.

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The Women in The Village / Mother / Women of China take up quite a fair bit of the musical, unfortunately.

The set and costume were simple yet beautifully designed and each scene was an artistic visual treat.

I especially remembered a scene of Meng Jiang Nü’s journey which required an amazing display of precision and teamwork, as the villagers laid out the wooden planks for Meng Jiang Nü, who walks and climbs on each plank. As her journey progresses, it is a stunning visual.  Perhaps, through this repetitive act of laying out the pathway for Meng Jiang Nü, the audience also experiences the difficulty and the long journey she took.

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Truly a great display of No wall too tall. No Journey too long… Meng Jiang Nü’s arduous journey in search of her beloved.

The Great Wall Musical is a powerful love story of one woman’s undying love and determination to be with her beloved against all odds. But it is not just a love story, it is an amazing story of human strength and tenacity despite immense suffering … A story about bravery and courage to stand up for what you believe in, and remain unyielding in spite of ruthless tyranny.

The Great Wall Musical runs from 14 -30 July 2017 at the Drama Centre Theatre, so there’s only one more week before it ends, next Sunday. Do catch it even if it’s a week night show.

The hubby gave it a thumbs up and has been telling everyone (who has asked us) that it’s a must watch. I agree 🙂 This is truly a Must – Watch Musical for 2017. Take a well deserved break from the mundane and be transported into another time, another world, another love. Book quickly at SISTIC https://www.sistic.com/events/cwall0717 before tickets are totally sold out! Have a lovely time with The Great Wall Musical!

Thank you for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums.  If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.  We hope to see you back again soon.

SAys! Audrey :) 

We are grateful for the opportunity to attend Glowtape Production’s The Great Wall Musical for the purposes of this review. We were not remunerated for the review, all opinions and experiences remain our own alone. All photos unless otherwise mentioned are copyright of Crispi I Photography & Glowtape Productions and were provided for the purposes of this review. All other photos remain the copyright property of SAys! Happy Mums and may not be reproduced without prior notice or written permission given.

About The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey

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When  : 14 – 30 JULY 2017 | Tue – Sat 8pm |Sat & Sun 3pm

* Please note that the role of Meng Jiang Nü will be played by Ethel Yap for performances on 16 Jul 3pm, 19 Jul 8pm and 26 Jul 8pm.

Where: Drama Centre Theatre (Map)

Duration: Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes  (15 minutes interval)

Who : No admission for infants in arms and person below 8 years old.

Ticket Pricing :  Check SISTIC for discounts applicable.

14 & 15 JULY $68 – $98
FRI 8PM, SAT 3PM & 8PM $68 – $98, $128 (VIP)
TUE – THU 8PM, SUN 3PM $58 – $88

(Ticket prices excludes $4 SISTIC Booking Fee)

Tickets available through: Get Your Tickets Now
SISTIC Website
SISTIC Hotline (65) 6348 5555
SISTIC Authorised Agents islandwide

{Giveaway} Glowtape Productions’ The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey| 14 – 30 JULY 2017

Glowtape Productions presents The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey from 14 – 30 July at the Drama Centre Theatre.

The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey is a spectacular musical adaptation that transforms Meng Jiang Nü’s tale into a soaring musical odyssey. Raw emotions are laid bare in a dazzling display of vocal showmanship as the characters come to life in a beautiful contemporary setting detailed with traditional design influences.

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Captivating and profoundly moving, this production weaves a gripping tale of love and courage against an epic backdrop of imperial China. In the face of insurmountable odds, a young everywoman does not yield to her fate. What unfolds is a passionate display of a woman’s resolve as she stands alone against the ultimate symbol of unbridled hubris and power.

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Join the phenomenal Na-Young Jeon’s Singapore debut, multi-talented George Chan and homegrown singing sensation Nathan Hartono as they team up this July for The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey.

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No wall too tall.
No journey too long.
The legend of Meng Jiang Nü.

Behind the imposing façade of The Great Wall lies one of the most enduring legends in Chinese folklore – the story of Meng Jiang Nü, whose tears brought down the Great Wall.

This original musical with brand new script by acclaimed Singaporean playwright Jean Tay, who won best original script for Everything But The Brain and authored Boom, both literature texts in schools, is led by an international team of artists – featuring composer David Shrubsole (National Gallery Singapore’s Opening Festival, London Road) from the UK, helmed by Australian director Darren Yap (Man of Letters, Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia!), and starring talents from the West End – Dutch-Korean actress Na-Young Jeon (Les Misérables, Miss Saigon) and Monique Wilson (Miss Saigon, The King & I), along with George Chan (Chicago, December Rains) and homegrown singer-songwriter Nathan Hartono, fresh from his stint on Sing! China.

The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey is a musical not to be missed! We can’t wait attend this amazing new musical in July. Book your tickets early at SISTIC and get the best seats before it is a Sold Out performance!

GIVEAWAY : 

WIN a Pair of Tickets worth $144!  

We’ve got great news for our loyal followers and fans of Nathan Hartono!

Glowtape Productions has kindly sponsored a pair of Cat 3 tickets worth more than for the 16 July, Sunday 3pm performance! Do follow ALL the instructions below to take part for your chance to win! 

To take part and qualify, please make sure all the following steps are completed:

1) COMMENT on this blog post stating your Facebook Name and Email address.

2) LIKE SAys! Happy Mums  and The Great Wall Musical on Facebook.

3) LIKE and SHARE this Facebook post on your Facebook Wall with the caption “Tag @Friend A Tag @Friend B Tag @Friend C Tag @Friend D Tag @Friend E, I want to watch The Great Wall : A Woman’s Journey with @Says Happy Mums ”. DO set your post to PUBLIC so that we are able to verify your entry.

Bonus entry:

  1. Follow us on Instagram {@sayshappymums}
  2. Repost this photo on IG and tag @sayshappymums @thegreatwallmusical #TheGreatWallMusical  + 3 Friends 

Terms and Conditions:

  • Giveaway ends 30 June, Friday at 2359 hrs.
  • Collection will be at the Drama Centre Theatre, Level 3, 45 minutes before show time. Do note that children younger than 8 years old will not be admitted.
  • Winner will need to produce their IC to claim their tickets.
  • Prize is fixed and cannot be changed to a different day or time.
  • Tickets are non-transferable, non-exchangeable and non-refundable.
  • The Winner will be notified by the email provided under the blog comments and must reply within 48 hours, failing which, a new winner will be drawn, without notice.
  • This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
  • The Sponsor reserves the right to request for a redraw if the drawn winner on our blog has also won tickets to the show from another giveaway.
  • Incomplete / Half-completed entries will be disqualified without notice. Decisions are final and no changes/disputes will be entertained.
  • All information is solely collected for the purpose of this giveaway and we will not send unsolicited emails to your inbox unless you have opted to subscribe to us (on the right of this page!).
  • This giveaway is in no manner associated with any social media accounts except our blog.

Thank you for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums.  If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.  We hope to see you back again soon.

SAys! Audrey :) 

About The Great Wall: One Woman’s Journey

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When  : 14 – 30 JULY 2017 | Tue – Sat 8pm |Sat & Sun 3pm

* Please note that the role of Meng Jiang Nü will be played by Ethel Yap for performances on 16 Jul 3pm, 19 Jul 8pm and 26 Jul 8pm.

Where: Drama Centre Theatre (Map)

Duration: Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes  (15 minutes interval)

Who : No admission for infants in arms and person below 8 years old.

Ticket Pricing :  Check SISTIC for discounts applicable.

14 & 15 JULY $68 – $98
FRI 8PM, SAT 3PM & 8PM $68 – $98, $128 (VIP)
TUE – THU 8PM, SUN 3PM $58 – $88

(Ticket prices excludes $4 SISTIC Booking Fee)

Tickets available through: Get Your Tickets Now
SISTIC Website
SISTIC Hotline (65) 6348 5555
SISTIC Authorised Agents islandwide

{Review} Poultry Tales |’Pokei Pokei’ Good Ole Family Fun Day

Over the long Labour Day weekend, we had a treat to go watch I Theatre’s Poultry Tales at the Drama Centre Theatre, despite the pending exams coming up. Seeing how my almost 8 year old (and his classmate plus 5 year old sister) laughed and squealed, I was assured that it was a well worth 1 hour spent away from mugging. The books can wait for a wee bit of fun.

I Theatre’s Poultry Tales runs at the Drama Centre Theatre from 27 April to 14 May 2017. Book your tickets quickly for the remaining available dates at http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/cpoultry0517

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Poultry Tales was warmly familiar, with all-time favourite stories coming to live on stage. The children enjoyed every bit of the goings-on onstage and laughed wildly at almost every moment.

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Impromptu Chicken Licken anyone?

Poultry Tales achieves quite a lot in just 1 hour. We were given 3 stories, namely, Chicken-Licken,  The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs and The Little Red Hen. All well loved Aesop Fables that are so enjoyable. I liked the clever scene changes between the 3 stories which cleverly reused props as the young audience were transported from being ‘backstage’ to being on  2 farms later on.

Although the stories are familiar, I Theatre cleverly engages the audience from a different perspective. What I liked most for this rather unusual production is that it really gave the young audience a glimpse of the backstage.

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The show opens with a backstage scene, and you immediately wonder why… But this clever opening means the children get to learn so much more about what goes on in a ‘real life’ backstage. “What is a prop?” “What’s a costume? What’s a scenery?” “What does a Stage Manager do?” Go to Poultry Tales and find out what is a ‘Fly-bar’ or what are ‘Legs’ in theatre lingo! All the endless whys and whats from your curious little buddies about theatre, is QED within half an hour 🙂

Wey also particularly liked to point out that the ‘stage crew’ were actually actors and they were acting out the backstage for us… Somewhat proud of himself that he knew that. Oops! haha.

Bravo to the actors who made everything just so funny! Simply loved the ‘interns’ Zebedee and Charlotte, who gave us stitches from all the laughter!

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“This is my hand, I have a prop … erh! A hand-prop”

My soon to be 8 year old, so got this joke…”This is my hand, I have a prop … erh! A Hand-prop”. It’s been his thing at school… He comes back from school everyday with some combination of this, eg.”I have a hand, I have a phone… Handphone!!” (Roll eyes? hahha)

If I thought anything was slapstick humour, my son loved it and so did his friend. At their age, funny is just funny, so I am happy to savour every moment of Wey’s innocent glee at the humour onstage. We laughed together, along with the entire theatre. Such happy moments at the theatre with my little boy! Good family fun together. 🙂

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Oh wow! someone conquered the swing doors and found … … Those eggs!!! GOLD GOLD GOLD! 🙂

I could tell that Wey absolutely loved the production, not just because he was laughing out loud almost all the time, but because as the cast was finishing the presentation of  The Little Red Hen (the last story), he kept pestering me to ask if this was the end and refused to believe me when I said yes it was. There was genuine dismay on the boy’s face awww…. LOL!

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Little Red Hen and her very helpful friends 😛

As usual, stay on for a little while after the show and get a nice family photo at the Meet and Greet that is absolutely free for everyone at the show. Unfortunately, we missed out on this Meet and Greet photo opportunity as I was caught up in conversation with Director Brian Seward.

If you haven’t gotten tickets to I Theatre’s Poultry Tales yet, please do so now (Click http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/cpoultry0517), as this may very well be the last I Theatre production for the entire 2017 unless there is somehow an angel sponsor stepping up to fill the shoes of I Theatre’s long time sponsor. 😦

Yes, I was totally shocked at the end of the 1 hour production, to hear from Director Brian Seward, that all planned productions for the second half of the year have been put on hold. Quite sadly, I Theatre will no longer benefit from the National Arts Council’s Major Grant this year!!

This is such a sad day for Children’s theatre in Singapore! My son has grown up with I Theatre productions since he was a wee boy of 3, which have undoubtedly sealed his love for the arts and theatre. It is such a major loss not only for I Theatre, but for our children who will most definitely miss the wonderful fun and educational experience of local theatre! 😦

I hope that in the months to come, some thing might be worked out for I Theatre and its wonderful team of people, so that its loyal little fans can continue to enjoy great local theatre again.

If you are able, do spread the word #SupportITheatre #SupportLocal #ChildrenTheatre #NeedSponsor and maybe there will be an angel sponsor coming in to help soon so that I Theatre may make a comeback next year!

If not, perhaps we all can chip in to support this wonderful theatre company that has kept ticket prices low with affordability for all kept in mind. Donate at http://itheatre.org/index.php/donate_sponsor/ . 

We at SAys! Happy Mums would really like to say a big “Thank You” to the people of I Theatre for the many years of wonderful drama for the children. Thank you Brian and team!

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Thank you for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums.  If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.  We hope to see you back again soon.

~ SAys! Audrey :) 

We are grateful for the opportunity to attend ITheatre’s Poultry Tales for the purposes of this review. We were not remunerated for the review, all opinions and experiences remain our own alone. All photos unless otherwise mentioned are copyright of I Theatre and were provided for the purposes of this review. All other photos remain the copyright property of SAys! Happy Mums and may not be reproduced without prior notice or written permission given.

About I Theatre’s Poultry Tales

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When: 29 Apr – 14 May 2017 | Saturdays & Sundays : 10.30am & 2pm

Where: Drama Centre Theatre (Map)

Who: 4 years and above and their families

Ticket Pricing : Standard $32 (excludes SISTIC booking fees)

Duration: Approximately 60 minutes

Tickets available through:
SISTIC Website
SISTIC Hotline (65) 6348 5555
SISTIC Authorised Agents islandwide

TICKET PRICES (Not including SISTIC Fees):      

  Standard Ticket
Adult/Child $32.00
Family Package (4 Persons) $121.60
Big Family Package (5 Persons) $144.00
Corporate Groups (min 20 persons) 25.60

15% DISCOUNT         

Friends of I Theatre Ikea Smales and Family Members
OCBC Baby Bonus Card Holders NTUC Card Members
OCBC Platinum & Arts Platinum Card Members eXplorerKid Members
OCBC Credit & Debit Card Members Toys’R’Us Star Card Members
Bank of China Card Members Civil Service Club Members
PAssion Card Members LITTLE STAR Ticket Stub Holder

10% DISCOUNT

Students (Local & International)

Senior Citizens (above 55 years old)

GROUP DISCOUNTS

Purchase a minimum of 20 tickets and get 20% discount

GROUP/SCHOOL BOOKINGS

Contact team@itheatre.org or 6341 5960 for group/corporate/school bookings.

Peach Blossoms | *MARvel* In Signature Favourites and New Delights with March Promotional Set Menu

It was a very beautiful morning when we went for the lunch invite at Peach Blossoms. The good news is that Peach Blossoms has launched their new set menu with some of their perennial favourites as well as new creations.  Promotional Set Menus are launched on a monthly basis with the focus on Barbequed Peking Duck (March) and Boston Lobster with 7 variations of cooking style (April).

I thought I was very early to reach before noon.  There were already two small tables of corporate diners before me.

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Let’s take a look at the yummilicious creation we tried!

Imperial Four Dimsum Combination

The 4-item dimsum starter for this month’s Set Menu was pleasing to the palette and went very well with the Pu’er tea we had. Every piece was exquisitely handmade and distinctively special with it’s own flavour.

A cut above traditional dimsum mass-production restaurants where minced meat with the occasional prawn bits disguised with a different look for every other item, this is worth all the calories. 所谓点到心头上的快乐 ,就是这样由来 ♡

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Imperial Four Dim Sum Combinations

From top, clockwise :
🍴Steamed Pork Dumpling with Black Garlic 黑蒜蒸烧卖
🍴Steamed Prawn Dumpling with Bamboo Shoot 笋尖鲜虾饺
🍴Deep-fried Yam Dumpling filled with BBQ Honey Pork 芋角叉烧酥
🍴Crispy Codfish Roll with Wild Mushroom 三椒野菌鳕鱼卷

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Deep-fried Yam Dumpling filled with BBQ Honey Pork 芋角叉烧酥

Barbequed Peking Duck 北京片皮鸭

This crispy roasted duck with crepe, cucumber, scallion and thick, fragrant sweet sauce is on this month’s promotional menu as part of a set of 8 gastronomic delights.

Alternatively, the big fat Peking Duck can be ordered as an ala-carte item at ONLY $48++ for now. So good deal hor! Don’t say bo jio!

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Barbequed Peking Duck 北京片皮鸭

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Barbequed Peking Duck 北京片皮鸭

Double-boiled Kampung Chicken Soup with Chinese Herbs 党参黄氏炖三芭鸡汤

The individually-served bowl of clear soup smelled of heavenly aroma.  I’m a soup lover who spares no expenses over soup ingredients.  Brought up the Cantonese way under my mum’s influence, I appreciate a hot bowl of soup when it comes to dining.  However, the soup I make at home (although is very good too) can in no way compare to the standards at Peach Blossoms even though I slow-slow-boil over the stove for hours.  At Peach Blossoms, they double-boil it for even longer hours hence I believe that is the way to seal in all the best flavour.

Looking at the ingredients from my soup bowl during the tasting session, I could not help but wonder if there was any other secret ingredients not seen.

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Double-boiled Kampung Chicken Soup with Chinese Herbs 党参黄氏炖三芭鸡汤

Stir-fried Boston Lobster with Golden Stripe and Oatmeal 金丝麦香波士顿龙虾

Generously laced with oatmeal and the distinct taste of fried egg white, the Boston Lobster will be the highlight in the coming month of April.

We loved that the meaty chunk of lobster meat gave a sweet, flavourful and firm bite. It was so well fried. What delighted us further was the personal demo from Manager showing us how he removed the shell from the pincer, exposing the entire pincer meat. We only needed to bite that chunk of meat off then lick our fingers after that ✌

Totally awesome! Totally unlike the typical zichar kind of oat and cereal prawn thingy. ♡  This is a league on it’s own.

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Stir-fried Boston Lobster with Golden Stripe and Oatmeal 金丝麦香波士顿龙虾

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Stir-fried Boston Lobster with Golden Stripe and Oatmeal 金丝麦香波士顿龙虾

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Watching the skillful removal of pincer shell amazed us how easily removable the succulent meat in the pincer was.

Under the Boston Lobster Promotion (1st April – 30th April 2017), there will be a choice of seven (7) cooking styles to choose from.  I believe one would mull over the selection just by looking at the menu.  The seven cooking styles available are listed below :-

  • Deep-fried with Crispy Golden Cereal 金丝麦片
  • Baked with Salted Egg and Cheese 芝士流沙焗
  • Baked with Black Truffle in Supreme Stock 上汤黑松露酱焗
  • Deep-fried and coated with Mayo and Mixed Nuts 果香珊汁
  • Baked in “Portuguese” Style 葡式焗
  • Stir-fried with Chill Paste 辣椒
  • Baked with Creamy Custard Pumpkin Sauce 奶皇焗

Boston Lobster will be sold at $11.80++ per 100g during the promotional period.

Steamed Silver Cod with Spicy Bean Sauce 酱蒸银鳕鱼

From far even before the dish could reach our table, I could tell that my favourite fish is coming up just from the design of the bowl.  This seems to be the signature bowl used for serving fish dishes at Peach Blossoms.  Hahah!

I still remember the vivid tangy and spicy assam flavour from our last visit when Peach Blossoms had the Abalone Set Menu promotion.  This time round, Chef upped one notch on the level of spiciness for the accompanying sauce.  As Audrey could not stomach the sharp spiciness of the Spicy Bean Sauce, I gobbled up two whole servings of the Silver Cod with no regrets.  It is really very, very hot and spicy with the savoury kind, not mala numbing kind.  So if you are infatuated with spicy flavour like I do, this one dish will awaken all your sensations without failing to leave you asking for more.

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Steamed Silver Cod with Spicy Bean Sauce 酱蒸银鳕鱼

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Steamed Silver Cod with Spicy Bean Sauce 酱蒸银鳕鱼

Steamed Bean Curd stuffed with Minced Pork in “Chao Shan” Style 潮汕家乡煎酿豆腐煲

This Yong Tau Fu  tasted very similar to what my mum makes at home, except that I could not taste the presence of salted fish or fish meat in the minced pork in a typical Hakka style.  The broth with was rich in flavour and I must admit that it is more superior to my mum’s simple soya bean + ikan bilis soup.

Chao Shan is located in the region around the Eastern Guangdong.   With Chao Zhou right below the Hakka-populated Meizhou Province in China, it is no wonder that both styles of cooking look and taste similar.  I wonder who copied who many decades ago. ;p

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Steamed Bean Curd stuffed with Minced Pork in “Chao Shan” Style 潮汕家乡煎酿豆腐煲

Pan-fried Rice Vermicelli and Glass Noodles with Shredded Duck Meat 香煎鸭丝干炒鸳鸯米粉

The familiar “chaotah” bee hoon was given a touch of elegance with the abundance of shredded duck meat stir-fried to smokey fragrance.  With the use of a mixture of glass noodles and vermicelli, it is one final stomach-filling dish that should not be missed even after all the fulfilling dishes prior.

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Pan-fried Rice Vermicelli and Glass Noodles with Shredded Duck Meat 香煎鸭丝干炒鸳鸯米粉

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Pan-fried Rice Vermicelli and Glass Noodles with Shredded Duck Meat 香煎鸭丝干炒鸳鸯米粉

Duo Dessert Combinations 香芒椰子冻配流沙煎堆

To make the meal complete, this Duo Dessert Combi of Chilled Coconut Jelly with Mango Puree served with Coconut Ice Cream and Deep-fried Glutinous Rice Ball filled with Custard and Salted Egg Yolk is here to find their way into your tummy.

To conclude the meal with the most perfect ending, start from the right with a medley of sweetness and work your way all the way to the left for the finale burst of savoury salted egg yolk lava encased within the very sticky, very QQ glutinous rice ball.  This is by no means a hastily prepared dessert as can be seen that the efforts have been put into plating.

Peach Blossoms Marina Mandarin

Duo Dessert Combinations 香芒椰子冻配流沙煎堆 * Chilled Coconut Jelly with Mango Puree served with Coconut Ice Cream * Deep-fried Glutinous Rice Ball filled with Custard and Salted Egg Yolk

Every dish was beautifully plated and served hot.  I went into food coma when the spoon was finally laid down.

Peach Blossoms
Level 5, Marina Mandarin Singapore
6 Raffles Boulevard
Singapore 039594 (Map)

Reservations :
Call (65) 6845 1118/1111 or email peachblossoms.marina@meritushotels.com.

Opening Hours :
Monday – Friday Lunch: 12.00pm – 3.00pm
Weekend Lunch (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays): 11.00am – 3.00pm
Daily Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.30pm

We are grateful for the opportunity to be invited for a sumptious lunch at Peach Blossoms, for the purposes of this review. We were not remunerated monetarily for the review, all opinions and experiences remain our own alone. All photos unless otherwise mentioned are copyright of Peach Blossoms and were provided for the purposes of this review.  All other photos remain the copyright property of SAys! Happy Mums and may not be reproduced without prior notice or written permission given.

~ SAys! Shirley :) 

About Marina Mandarin Singapore, by Meritus

Marina Mandarin Singapore is a world-class, 5-star luxury hotel that offers breathtaking views of Marina Bay and the financial district.

Enjoying an excellent location in the heart of the city, the hotel has direct access to the Marina Square Shopping Mall, and is opposite the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre and The Esplanade–Singapore’s premier performing arts centre. The hotel is also perfectly situated right on the trackside of the annual Singapore Grand Prix Formula One race.

Complemented by a host of comprehensive amenities, the hotel’s 575 well-appointed guest rooms and suites are specially tailored to meet the needs of discerning business and leisure travellers.

With a distinctively majestic atrium soaring through 21 levels of the hotel, Marina Mandarin Singapore is imbued with a philosophy of providing Asian grace, warmth and care in an atmosphere of relaxed elegance.

About Meritus Hotels & Resorts

Meritus Hotels & Resorts is a Singapore-based hotel management company under the Hospitality Division of OUE Limited (SGX-ST: “OUE”), a diversified real estate owner, developer and operator with a portfolio of iconic properties in prime locations in Asia and the United States.

As an award-winning hospitality brand, Meritus has been providing guests its signature Asian Grace, Warmth and Care for over 40 years. With hotels and resorts strategically located in key cities and idyllic sanctuaries in Singapore and Malaysia, Meritus is soon extending its footprint in more locations around the region, particularly in Southeast Asia and China.

Meritus Hotels & Resorts is three-time winner of Most Popular Heritage Brand at the Singapore Prestige Brand Award (SPBA), demonstrating its impact as a home-grown Singapore brand that has become an important benchmark for values and best practices that other local brand owners strive to attain. More recently, the Group was also conferred Global Winner – Luxury Hotel Chain at the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2013.

For more information visit www.meritushotels.com.

Going Mad about Music with Sid Bowfin |25Feb- 12Mar 2017

This was the very first time we’ve gone to the theatres not for a drama but for a musical treat and the kids loved every minute of Crazy Classics with Sid Bowfin at the Drama Centre Black Box last Sunday.

 

You may be thinking, really? Can classical music really be fun… and for kids?? Well, I had my doubts before going this weekend and the children were the best judges. Every little one was enjoying Sid’s fun easy going way with the Classical pieces. He fiddled on his violin to the delight of the small audience who were clapping ,tapping along and having pure 60minutes of fun.

I liked that the show  was held at the Blackbox Theatre, a small cosy setting that made it all the more intimate and interactive. It didn’t feel intimidating (even though it was classical music haha)! Before midway, Sid Bowfin had already gotten the children on their feet and dancing to the classics he was belting out.


Sid Bowfin seemed to make classical music accessible even for the littlest one or the most clueless one that had zero musical background. He talked to his audience, interacted and told us stories of each piece he was about to play. He made everyone laugh easily with his funny expressions, crazy antics and jokes. The audience participation was unending and there was no lack of volunteers as hands waved up and down to be picked.

I was happy to see Wey very enthusiastic throughout the performance. He was trying his best to be picked as a volunteer. LOL! It has always been a big regret for me when Wey stopped music lessons last year because we just couldn’t quite find the time; with him being in the afternoon session in Primary school. Although I’ve heard him tell me that he wants to restart music once he gets to morning session, I was not sure that he meant it. And yet last weekend, I saw the twinkle in his eyes as the music played on, and yes perhaps, next year, he will go back to music again, when time permits. 🙂 In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the children at the show are already asking for violin lessons, thanks to Sid Bowfin (aka Adrian Garratt).

Even though the theatre is small, do note that it is free seating so get there early to get better seats. In any case, Sid does make an extra effort to go to his audience, even those seated behind got to be up close and personal with him so no one gets left out. Also, if you care to stay on after the performance, you can have family pictures taken with Sid Bowfin for that precious keepsake.

If you have a budding musician at home or just want to introduce and inspire the little ones, Sid Bowfin will certainly be a fun way to do it. Crazy Classics with Sid Bowfin is presented by Act 3 International and runs at The Drama Centre Black Box Theatre from 25February – 12 March 2017. Tickets are available from SISTIC, http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/ccrazy0317  more details at the end of the post.

 

act3sid

Thank you for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums.  If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.  We hope to see you back again soon.

SAys! Audrey :) 

About Act3 International presents Crazy Classics with Sid Bowfin

act3sid

When: 25 February to 12 March 2017| Mon – Fri: 9am | Sat & Sunday : 10.30am & 2.30pm

Where: Drama Centre Black Box

 

Who: 4 years and above and their families

Ticket Pricing : Standard $28 Weekdays, $38 Weekends (Excludes Booking Fee)

Duration: Approximately 60 minutes

Tickets available through:
SISTIC Website

SISTIC Hotline (65) 6348 5555
SISTIC Authorised Agents islandwide


*For School Group Bookings, please call ACT 3 International at 6735 9986

Prosperous Pleasures & Abundance of Treasures at Aquamarine CNY Buffet

With Christmas behind us and the Year of the Rooster arriving fast and furious in 3 weeks, everyone is always doubly busy with spring cleaning, putting up decorations, banking, and not to forget, meal-planning for reunion dinner and CNY gatherings at this time of the year.

If you have not done any planning yet, now is the time to make your reservations at AquaMarine for a gathering this CNY.  Located at Level 4 of Marina Mandarin, the Halal buffet restaurant is easily a crowd-pleaser with their splendid spread of delectable cuisine from Asian and International countries.

With planning in advance and innovative twist to the usual fare, Executive Chef Tony Khoo and Chef Chan Tuck Wai have specially prepared a line up of festive dishes to celebrate the joyous festival.

Yu Sheng (Salmon) – DIY

At the Yu Sheng DIY station, grab for yourselves as much treasures as you can with AquaMarine’s Signature Yu Sheng with fresh Salmon Sashimi.  After all, the more one grabs, the more ‘huat’ one will be right?

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Roasted Duck and Wok Fried Leek in Buckwheat Crepes

Presenting our top vote, these crepe-wrapped roasted duck and wok-fried leek was a champion both in aesthetics appeal and tastes.  Rather than sampling small portions of the same duck and leek from the boring-looking warmer, this pancake-style alternative using healthy buckwheat for a wrap gave us a very different gastro-perience (if there is such a word) right out of from the buffet table.  This is a MUST-TRY!

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Whole abalone, Sea Cucumber and Lobster Dumpling with Crustacean Sauce

Served as the stunning highlight during CNY Reunion Dinner (27 Jan 2017) is fresh Whole Abalone, Sea Cucumber and Lobster Dumpling swimming in a pool of deeply-flavoured Crustacean Sauce with a tinge of spice.  Everybody’s well-loved abalone and sea cucumber are braised to perfection – soft to the bite yet there is a little bit of firmness to them.

Together with the large chunk of lobster in the big dumpling symbolising a large money sack, I wished I could have another serving to lick the plate clean!  Gimme MORE, pretty please!

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Wagyu Beef Short Ribs Kong Bag Pau

This Wagyu Beef Short Ribs Kong Bag Pau with 8 Spices has been cooked slowly for 16 hours to obtain tender chunks of beef with deep, flavourful gravy to soak steamed and ever soft lotus bun with.

An unique twist to the pork belly that we are used to, the wagyu beef kong bah pau is flavoured exactly like how we love it – thick, savoury gravy and (fatty) beef.  The addition of soya bean sprouts and lettuce matches the sinful yet delish dish very much.

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Steamed Seafood with Cordycep Blossom In Lotus Leaves

Think fresh, sweet and succlent seafood from this eye-catching steamed basket of seafood enhanced with the nutritious cordycep blossoms and the fragrance from lotus leaves.  Symbolising abundance of laughter and happiness for the coming new year, the flower crabs, large prawns and bountiful seafood catch is a treasure trove to look out for.

A word of advice – don’t miss the soup!

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Stewed Mee Sua with Seafood

After sampling the wave of delicious dishes above and not forgetting other food from the rest of the usual buffet spread at AquaMarine, we’d recommend going for a serving of warm mee sua stewed with fresh seafood.  The significance of longevity in mee sua is what everyone needs in the new year ahead.  The mee sua soaked in all the invigorating sweetness from the seafood and it settled comfortably in our stomachs after a satisfying meal.

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Mandarin Orange Cake

For the coming Year of the Rooster, AquaMarine’s Mandarin Orange Cake certainly looks all set to welcome a year of prosperity and abundance with a wealthy burst of citrusy sweetness and auspicious fruity taste in every bite.

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CNY Aquamarine Reunion Buffet Dinner
27 Jan 2017 from 630pm to 10pm
$128++ per adult and $64++ per child 5-12yrs old

CNY Day 1 and 2 Aquamarine Buffet 
28 and 29 Jan 2017
Lunch $68++ per adult
Dinner $88++ per adult

CNY Aquamarine Festive Buffet
16 Jan to 17 Feb 2017 (except 27, 28 and 29 Jan 2017) from 630pm to 10pm
Sun – Thurs $70++ per adult and $35++ per child (5-12yrs old)
Fri and Sat $80++ per adult and $40++ per child (5-12yrs old)

Festive Takeaway Menu is available for download here.

Address
AquaMarine
6 Raffles Boulevard, Level 4, Marina Mandarin, Singapore 039594 (Map)

Reservations & Enquiries:
Call (65) 6845 1111, email aquamarine.marina@meritushotels.com or visit www.marinamandarin.com.sg/dining for more information.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be invited for a sumptious lunch at AquaMarine, for the purposes of this review. We were not remunerated monetarily for the review, all opinions and experiences remain our own alone. All photos unless otherwise mentioned are copyright of AquaMarine and were provided for the purposes of this review.  All other photos remain the copyright property of SAys! Happy Mums and may not be reproduced without prior notice or written permission given.

~ SAys! Shirley :)