The Henderson Project is a passion project of Dream Academy, where theatre-goers are guided away from “the beaten theatre path” and onto an intriguing adventure.
The gritty Henderson Industrial Estate seems like an unlikely venue for experimental theatre. But step inside the Dream Academy studio and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your friend’s home. The studio only accommodates up to 50 people, so it makes you feel like you’re relaxing in a friend’s living room, enjoying an intimate evening of music and conversation. Oh, before you enter the theatre space, make a stop by the makeshift bar and get a glass of beer or wine, or try Selena’s Fried Rice.
The Henderson Project kicks off with “The Last Five Years”, a modern musical by Tony-award winner Jason Robert Brown. Starring Linden Furnell as Jamie and Mina Kaye as Cathy, this musical traces the rise and fall of their five-year relationship. What’s unique about this tale of soured romance is how the two characters do not interact at all throughout the show. Cathy plays out her version of their love story backwards in time, whereas Jamie tells his side of the story in chronological order. Despite this, the poignancy of the characters’ thoughts and emotions are conveyed effortlessly through the lyrics, which are equal parts witty and meaningful.
Furnell and Kaye also did an excellent job in bringing out the highs and lows of their characters’ love story. Besides their flawless delivery of the songs, the small space enabled the audience to better empathise with the characters because we were able to catch every small sad smile, or subtle flick of an eyebrow.
This central theme of love overflowed on to the next show, “Happy Robin”, which is a solo performance by veteran entertainer Robin Goh. As he bantered with the audience and belted out his favourite love songs, I couldn’t help but again feel like I’ve been transported into someone’s living room. Goh has an engaging stage presence, and his soothing voice is sure to take you on a languid trip down memory lane.
According to Tricia Tan, Dream Academy’s PR and Marketing Manager, this is just the beginning for The Henderson Project. In fact, the production house has plenty of exciting ideas and initiatives in the pipeline. Well, if this debut is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see what else they have in store!
The Henderson Project is now playing till 16 February. Call Dream Academy at 9874 4465 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
Note: The author was invited to review The Henderson Project by Dream Academy. All opinions are the author’s own.
About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.
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