Arts & Entertainment

Your complete guide to Singapore's art exhibitions, theatre plays, musicals, comedy, movie reviews and film trailers

Art

Karin Aue: G’schau

The Singapore-based Austrian designer’s style is based on strong hand-drawn lines that are developed and transformed digitally. This exhibition features Aue’s illustrations, which bring to life quotidian moments and the hushed lives of everyday Singaporeans. We find out more about the exhibition from Aue.

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Art

Kevin Ou: The Sew-Out Show – Kinetic Abstraction

Visitors can pick out their favourite section from Ou’s 13 photographs and have them transformed into accessories, such as tote bags and bowties, by craftsmen from The General Company. Prices start from $50. Ou tells us more about the inspiration behind this trippy series. 

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Art

From Earth and Metal: Contemporary Sculpture

Celebrating the way that sculptures redefine our environment, the works on show examine the connection between man, matter and metaphysics.

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Art

Simryn Gill: Hugging the Shore

Gill’s first major solo show in South- East Asia comprises several series of photographs, which all serve as a documentation of her surroundings and how they engage with more abstract elements like time and culture.

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Cinemas

Swanky Silver Screens

Splurge out at these cinemas for a luxe movie-going experience

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Art and theatre events

Art

Gong Xinru

The whimsical works by the Chinese artist questions the hustle and bustle of modern city life through the use of brightly coloured traffic symbols.

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The Lady of Soul & Her Ultimate ‘S’ Machine

In Tan Tarn How’s landmark political play, a nation decides it needs more soul, so a civil servant asks three candidates – a mamasan, a left-wing radical and a representative from the arts – to present their idea of what ‘soul’ is. Part of Esplanade’s The Studios: fifty series.

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It Could’ve Been__!

Written by Cultural Medallion recipient Han Lao Da and staged by the Sin Feng Xiang Sheng Society, this production presents an alternative version of Singapore’s history through a series of jokes and songs. Performed in Chinese with no subtitles.

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Art

Zhang Linhai: Sandbox

Abandoned in an orphanage at birth, adopted by a very poor couple and having to endure a range of illnesses including polio – which left him crippled – Zhang nonetheless defied all odds and went on to become one of China’s most respected painters. Fifteen of his best works encapsulating his struggles are displayed here.

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Theatre

The Studios: fifty

The Esplanade’s special season of The Studios includes 50 of Singapore’s theatre works from the 1960s to the present. Five monumental plays, including Emily of Emerald Hill and Off Centre, are restaged as full productions, while 45 other works are showcased as dramatised readings.

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The 39 Steps

A humorous mix of Alfred Hitchcock thrill and Monty Python tomfoolery, The 39 Steps is adapted from the novel by John Buchan. Featuring over 100 characters played by four actors, this show follows the adventures of striking hero Richard Hannay – who has been incorrectly accused of murder – and his happenstances with villains, double agents and beautiful women.

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Latest film reviews and releases

Film

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Joss Whedon’s first ‘Avengers’ movie was the epic finale to Marvel’s cinematic Phase One, herding all the franchise’s disparate elements in a rousing, rewarding whole. ‘Age of Ultron’, though, has a definite mid-season feel to it, telling a compelling but never game-changing story while laying the foundations for the epic, two-part ‘Infinity War’ due in 2018. It may be piled with MacGuffins, magic crystals, red-skinned demi-Gods and psychic asides, but at the heart of ‘Ultron’ is a simple, even derivative plot about overweening ambition and technology run amok. When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) combine to create the world’s first fully functioning AI, they don’t stop to think of the consequences. And of course it’s not long before Ultron (voiced by James Spader) is building an army of robots bent on wiping out the population of earth – starting with the noble Avengers. Whedon has revealed that his first cut ran for well over three hours, and it shows: ‘Ultron’ feels excessively nipped and tucked, barrelling from one explosive set-piece to the next, leaving ideas half-formed and character motivations murky. While the introduction of new superheroes like Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the confusingly multi-talented Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) may excite comic fans, it makes for such a crowded field that even star players like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) are shoved to the sidelines. ‘Age of Ultron’ is s

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Rubbers

Sex sells. So you can’t go wrong with a film about sexy-time, right? Believe us, there are lots of heavy moaning, masturbating men and dirty positions in Rubbers. But unfortunately, the movie chaffs more than it pleases. Set on Valentine’s Day, the three short tales that comprise the movie – Nightmare, Balloons and The Plumber – are spliced together and abruptly cut from one to the next. Perhaps it would’ve been better to let each one shine on its own, without the arthouse acrobatics. Nightmare, true to its name, is the most jarring and out of place. Adam (Tay), a womaniser and condom-hating Casanova, is made an example of when a playful warning turns into a freakish hallucination ending with his private bits getting hacked off. In contrast, Balloons tells a bittersweet tale of longtime married couple, Ah Hua (Sng) and Ah Niu (Chin). Teetering on the edge of divorce after years of Ah Niu’s philandering ways, they both begin to recall the days of old when their love was young and unscathed. Ah, nostalgia. The highlight performance comes from Yeo Yann Yann, who throws all inhibition to the wind in her portrayal of the lonely Baoling in The Plumber. Egged on by a talking durian-flavoured condom (yes, we were kind of weirded out, too), she attempts to seduce a plumber to hilarious effect. This scene is a fitting example of the type of Singaporean humour employed in Rubbers: slapstick and on-the-nose, with cringe-worthy antics plucked straight out of MediaCorp’s joke archives.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Chappie

After the out-of-nowhere sucker punch of his 2009 debut ‘District 9’, Neill Blomkamp’s second film, 2013’s ‘Elysium’, felt like the work of a Hollywood-designed, blockbuster-producing robot: slick and anonymous. So it’s a huge relief to discover that, with ‘Chappie’, the South African filmmaker has re-engaged his emotion chip and ramped up the weirdness factor for this lovably scattergun cybernetic satire. We’re in near-future Johannesburg, where a platoon of faceless android crimefighters have begun the mammoth task of cleaning up the streets. But their inventor (Dev Patel) has greater ambitions: he’s working on the world’s first true artificial intelligence, a computer that can not only think, but create. The result is Chappie, a creature with the body of a killer but the mind of a child. And when Chappie falls into the hands of wannabe gangsters Ninja and Yolandi – played, roughly as themselves, by Afrikaans electroclash duo Die Antwoord – his future is thrown wide open. Will he become a benefit to humanity? Or a menace to society? It would have been easy for Blomkamp to use Chappie as a cipher, a metal shell to be filled with symbolic notions of nature versus nurture, corporate greed and post-human existential angst. But thanks to a wonderful vocal performance from Sharlto Copley, this droid is so much more: he’s adorable, sympathetic and even relatable, a lost soul in a harsh world. ‘Chappie’ the film isn’t so perfect. The plot is threadbare, the nods to ‘RoboCop’ are

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Fifty Shades of Grey

A watered-down adaptation that hides coyly under the sheets, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is full of all sorts of sex, but it's still a hopelessly softcore erotic drama that fails to be even a fraction as titillating as the EL James books that inspired it. And yet, strangely, that's exactly why it works.'Fifty Shades' begins with Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson, nuanced), a demure college student, arriving for an interview in the office of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan, stiff), Seattle's most eligible billionaire. It isn't long before the two are bound together like the pages in the spine of a saucy paperback. The virginal Anastasia, however, is in for a surprise: Christian is as kinky as he is rich.Inevitably, this telling of the tale has been neutered to the brink of recognition. Christian is an S&M fetishist, and when Anastasia is invited into her new partner's 'Red Room of Pain', she's confronted by a wonderland of leather, rope and recycled circus equipment. And yet, by the time the movie ends just a few mild spankings later, 'Fifty Shades' feels like going on a trip to Disney World and only riding the monorail.But British director Sam Taylor-Johnson's film becomes fascinating for the finesse with which she navigates the prudishness forced upon it. The director is capable of pivoting from romantic comedy to erotic drama at the crack of a whip, her dexterity allowing the tepid sex scenes to be framed by a surprisingly sensitive story of self-discovery. Substituting heartache

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Unbroken

Teenage tearaway, 1930s Olympic runner, World War II prisoner-of-war survivor… Why has it taken so long for Hollywood to make a film about the incredible life of Louis Zamperini? Angelina Jolie's third film as a director is a gorgeously shot and hardhitting old-school war drama that’s meant to leave us awestruck by the power of the human spirit. It gets so much right – but still somehow fails to get under Zamperini’s skin.Jack O’Connell’s scrappy underdog energy is perfect for Zamperini, who we meet at 26 in a gripping scene as he shoots at the Japanese from a B-24 bomber in 1943. In flashbacks we see him as a juvenile delinquent, the son of poor Italians, tearing around California. When little Louis, age 13 or so, discovers there’s more to running than dodging cops he quits booze and fags to train with his brother. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics he catches Hitler’s eye as he runs the fastest lap of the 5,000-metres race. Is it his athlete’s iron discipline that keeps Zamperini alive when his plane crashes into the Pacific – and he’s stranded on a raft with two buddies? He puts the trio on rations of two squares of chocolate and three sips of water a day. There’s little variety in these scenes, although in a shift from the usual macho bravado of men bonding at war, Jolie shows us the tenderness of these boys. When one of them gets sick, Zam – as his mates call him – holds his hand, tenderly telling him stories of his ma’s gnocchi.Which is enough drama to fill one life – and one

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Jupiter Ascending

You have to hand it to Lana and Andy Wachowski: they don’t do things by halves. Fresh from blending dystopian sci-fi, period drama, posh-boy cannibalism and just about everything else under the sun in the gloriously insane ‘Cloud Atlas’, they’ve taken a step backwards, forwards and skywards with this berserk space opera. ‘Jupiter Ascending’ weaves in the messianic elements of ‘The Matrix’, the punch-in-the-eye visual intensity of ‘Speed Racer’ and the fruity performances of ‘Cloud Atlas’ – not to mention random splashes of ‘Dune’, ‘Foundation’, ‘Flash Gordon’, ‘Barbarella’ and ‘Brazil’ – into one breathtaking, mindscrambling, what-the-hell-am-I-watching intergalactic fantasy. It could very well end their careers, but they’ll be going out with one hell of a bang.Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a Russian immigrant in modern-day Chicago whose workaday life takes an unexpected turn when she becomes an assassination target for scenery-shredding Shakespearean psycho Eddie Redmayne, the universe’s premier power-broker. Whisked to safety by hired hunter Channing Tatum (part wolf, part man, all beefcake) and his amazing anti-grav boots, Jupiter learns that she is the genetic reincarnation of the Queen of the Universe, a title which grants her infinite wealth and the power to control bees for some reason. We’d love to say that the Wachowskis manage to wrangle all these disparate elements into a satisfying whole, but this is one mad mess from start to finish, crammed with flying dinosau

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Top art museums and galleries in Singapore

Things to do

Peranakan Museum

The world’s largest and best overview of Peranakan life over three floors

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Film

Objectifs Centre for Photography & Filmmaking

Regular courses and workshops at this filmmaking and photography hub

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Art

ArtScience Museum

Art and science coexist in the same space at Marina Bay Sands

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Things to do

Gillman Barracks

A cluster of galleries take over this former military encampment

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Things to do

MINT Museum of Toys

A private museum with the largest collection of vintage toys in Southeast Asia

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Art

Singapore Art Museum

20th-century Asian visual art housed in a colonial building

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