The three Christmas Ghosts share what audiences can expect from this local version of A Christmas Carol
Photos: W!ld Rice
This Christmas, W!LD RICE is treating us to the classic tale of the miserly old man who comes around from hatefully shouting “Bah, humbug,” to loving the holiday.
Ebenezer Scrooge? No, we’re talking about S. K. Loo, the Singaporean businessman whose popular app made him a multi-millionaire!
For their annual holiday pantomime, W!LD RICE revisits the timeless Charles Dickens story about Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and gives it a cheeky local and modern update, as A $ingapore Carol! It begins playing at the Victoria Theatre from 23 November to 15 December. Written by Jonathan Lim and directed by Hossan Leong, it’s a family musical featuring original music by award-winning composer, Elaine Chan. You’re going to hear a different kind of holiday carols – there’ll even be some K-Pop beats!
A $ingapore Carol also showcases our nation’s brightest talents. Sebastian Tan stars as the greedy Loo, while Siti Khalijah Zainal, Candice de Rozario, and Audrey Luo, play the iconic Christmas Ghosts. We chatted with Siti, Candice and Audrey about how they prepare for their roles, the original music, their relationship with the Dickens classic, and more.
Hi Siti, Candice and Audrey! Can you share with us what audiences can expect from A $ingapore Carol?
Siti: It’s loosely based on A Christmas Carol. Now imagine that in a Singaporean setting!
Candice: It’s a modernised, local version of Charles Dickens’ classic story, A Christmas Carol. All the characters are there, from Scrooge (S. K. Loo in our version) to Jacob Marley (we call him Ali Inwan) to the three Christmas ghosts, but they’ve all been transposed from Victorian England to Singapore in 2018, so I believe they’re a lot more relatable to today’s audiences, because the problems that Loo faces are the same ones many of us struggle with today.
Audrey: It’s an adaptation and “high-tech” version of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, haha! Audiences can expect heart-warming moments, nice original music and magic happening on stage!
You are all veterans in the local theatre industry. How is ‘A $ingapore Carol’ different from other shows you’ve done?
Siti: This is the very first panto that’s fully based on a Christmas story. Whereas for the past pantos, they’re always based on famous fairy tales and even Asian folklore! So this one feels extra special!
Candice: I’m very fortunate to have had quite an eclectic career so far, which has included several other W!ld Rice pantomimes, so I’m no stranger to the energy of the wild and wacky characters that have been written into this one by playwright Jonathan Lim. I will say however, that simply by the nature of the source material, this is a most un-panto panto. No less enjoyable though!
Audrey: I get to go close to audiences this time, like really quite close… Haha! Cannot say too much, later spoiler!
What are your thoughts on the original music composed for the show?
Siti: It’s very current and ‘happening’! Not your usual musical style genre!
Candice: The music was composed and arranged by Elaine Chan and Joel Nah. Elaine seems taken quite a different direction from her usual musical theatre style this time and gone with a harsher rock sound. There are some hooks for sure, but even some of the less catchy numbers will grow on you over time, so make sure you buy the soundtrack so you can continue to enjoy it after you leave the theatre. With regard to my solo song, they’ve really thrown me a challenge this time! I won’t elaborate further than that, you’ll just have to come see for yourself!
Audrey: I thought there is a good variety of different genre of music in this show which means audiences can take away at least one favourite tune at the end of the day.
Was ‘A Christmas Carol’ a big part of your childhood and growing up? How do you feel about playing such iconic characters such as the Christmas Ghosts?
Siti: To be honest, no. I only read the story a couple of years ago and I thought it’s pretty cool!
Candice: It’s a Dickens classic, so as a literary geek I’ve always been aware of the story and its message of redemption, but it was never really a huge part of my life. I’ve always been a little bit goth though, so I’ve enjoyed the creepiness of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Be and was quite stoked when I heard I had been cast in the role.
Audrey: To be honest, not really. I am actually very excited to be playing one, although I didn’t grow up with this classic, I know of the characters in this novel and I do know how the Christmas Ghosts impacted a human being’s life after he meets them one after another.
The Christmas Ghosts have been portrayed in great variations on screen and on stage, from elegant ladies to old men to kids. How do you interpret your role and prepare for it?
Siti: All of my characters will be given a fun local flavour!
Candice: The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Be is perhaps the most omniscient and omnipresent of the three. Without giving too much away, I will say that we have been able to achieve that with some clever planning from director Hossan Leong. She’s also a bit of a rock star, which suits me just fine, since I sing in a symphonic metal band (SANGRIENTO).
Audrey: I watched the different versions of movies on it, read the book and just let my imagination run wild to create my own version of the Ghost! This is after all our very own local adaptation and is a new Ghost never seen before in any known versions.
Get your tickets to A $ingapore Carol here.