Arts Picks: Daring cabaret at La Clique, Condor Heroes art exhibition

La Clique will be the first international theatrical show to be brought in to Singapore since the circuit breaker last year.
La Clique will be the first international theatrical show to be brought in to Singapore since the circuit breaker last year.PHOTO: LA CLIQUE

La Clique

A cabaret is risque business, but the performers of La Clique know that in these pandemic times, the real tease is proximity.

The first long-running theatrical show with an international cast brought in person to Singapore since the circuit breaker last year, it mixes feats of derring-do with moments of sheer silliness.

A man strips out of a three-piece suit while suspended from a flying coat stand; a woman bounces about squealing in a giant gum-pink bubble.

Ribald emcee Bernie Dieter sings lustily about contact. A running gag is that she keeps attempting to touch the audience, always thwarted at the last minute by the long-suffering stage manager.

La Clique was meant to open here in May this year, but was postponed due to Covid-19.

Now it takes place inside one of Marina Bay Sands' expo halls, revamped as a spiegeltent, the classic large tent used as an entertainment venue.

This makes for an intriguing change - one feels close to the performers, even though all the necessary social distancing restrictions are in place - although because of the flat levels, people further towards the back may struggle to see the non-aerial acts and the sound quality is not superb.

Yet there are some real breathtaking moments in this show. The Skating Willers, a roller-skating duo, perform such breakneck stunts on the narrow stage that half the time you are terrified one will go spinning off into the audience.

Then there is Heather Holliday, the classiest sword swallower you ever will see. She also breathes fire in a blazing finale.

One feels oddly defiant watching all this in a pandemic. After all, as Liza Minelli sang in the musical Cabaret: "What good's permitting some prophet of doom to wipe every smile away?" Come to the cabaret.

Where: Exhibition Hall C, Level 1 Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue
MRT: Bayfront
When: Till Nov 7, 4.30pm (weekends), 8pm (Tuesdays to Sundays)
Admission: $98 to $188
Info: Pre-event testing is compulsory for non-vaccinated audiences. For more information, visit their website.


Reunion: Timeless Love and Art in Return Of The Condor Heroes

See original artwork from the classic manga adaptation of Return Of The Condor Heroes, the 1959 epic by Louis Cha, the legendary wuxia (Chinese martial arts) novelist who died in 2018.

The manga series, published in Singapore in 1997, took Asia by storm and put Singaporean comic artist Wee Tian Beng on the map. More than 1.5 million copies were sold, setting a record for home-grown comics at the time.

In this exhibition at Orchard Road bookstore Zall, wuxia fans can check out art from the series as well as out-of-print editions, and calligraphy by esteemed poet and Cultural Medallion recipient Pan Shou.


Wuxia fans can check out art from the series as well as out-of-print editions in this exhibition at Orchard Road bookstore Zall. ST PHOTO: OLIVIA HO

Visitors can pose with standees of the rebellious Yang Guo and his ethereal mentor-turned-lover Xiaolongnv (Little Dragon Girl). The star-crossed couple battle their way to the top of the pugilistic hierarchy amid the political turmoil of Song Dynasty China.

On Saturday (Oct 9), publisher Asiapac Books will hold a launch for the limited-edition collector's box set, which has been remastered with new covers by Wee and bonus comic pages. It will take place both in-person and on live stream via Asiapac's Facebook and YouTube.

Where: The Zall Bookstore, 01-02/02-18 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road
MRT: Orchard
When: Till Oct 17, 11am to 9.30pm daily. Book launch on Saturday at 2pm
Admission: Free. Limited slots for book launch, register at bit.ly/ROCHOct9
Info: Asiapac Books Facebook page


Full Out! ScRach vs MarcS


Dance duo ScRach MarcS for Full Out! ScRach vs MarcS at the Esplanade's da:ns festival. PHOTO: BERNIE NG

It will be hard to top da:ns festival's 2019 Full Out!, a high-octane extravaganza which assembled award-winning street dance crews from around the world in the Esplanade Theatre.

Nevertheless, ScRach vs MarcS seeks to summon some of those thrills in this outdoor showdown between home-grown street dancers, who will pit various styles and philosophies against one another - choreography versus freestyle, cypher versus showcase and so on.

Husband-and-wife duo Marcus Tan and Rachel Lee will each lead a team of dancers in the showdown, and the audience will get to judge. A finale that announces the results across all four performances will be streamed live on Facebook.

Where: Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive
When: Oct 14 to 17, 8pm
Admission: $38 via Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to Sistic's website)
Info: Pre-event testing is compulsory for non-vaccinated audiences. In the event of rain, the start time of event may be delayed. For more information, go to this website.