Joining the Sisterhood

Sister Act The Musical

Come join the sisterhood

There is nothing I enjoy more than a night (or day) at the theatre. Musicals in particular have an appeal like no other. I swear I must have had some connection to the theatre in a previous life. Sadly I don’t think I was high kicking with Liza Minelli or serenading Michael Ball; probably more like running around polishing shoes or sewing sequins. So it is with much excitement that I have recently been talking to the company who bring all the best shows to our little red dot, Base Entertainment. Today I was fortunate enough to be invited to the press call for its latest show at the MasterCard theatre, MBS, Sister Act  – sequinned wimples and all.

Anyone too young to have watched the movie Sister Act needs to get themselves a couple of hours on the sofa right now as it’s a rare treat. Real old school comedy, fine female (and some male) actors and fabulous music. What more could you want? Obviously Whoopi Goldberg is forever associated with the film – but did you know it also featured Maggie Smith (pre Dame hood) and Harvey Keitel?

So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that a musical based on the film is also a must see. A huge hit from Broadway to the West End this production features the cast direct from the Broadway show. Obviously I’m not going to give too much away about what we were shown to say but suffice to say I’m more than a tad excited to be seeing the show.

From a 16ft tall Virgin Mary (with a not so dark side), to racks bursting with sparkling habits, our tour backstage was fascinating. Molly, the production stage manager showed us where she cues stage crew, audio and actors alike from left of stage (or right of stage if you are her as she has to do everything backwards) and the ‘God mike’ – for when things go wrong.

Gondola row – or wardrobe walk – was much smaller than I had imagined. This is the area where actors do quick changes. I can only imagine the swan like activity that goes on – with calm changes on the surface and utter panic underneath. I spotted a Wurlitzer (which looked original and I immediately coveted) bar stools upended, bottles of drink and glasses, Dolores coat and lots of slippers amongst many other gems. I can’t wait to see where they all feature in the show.

It was fascinating to hear how the sets, costumes, props, lighting and so on are all shipped around the world in five sea containers. How parts of the set are moved on and off stage and how the huge cast and crew work together to ensure the show is as good in one country as the next.

With shows as good as this hitting our shores I for one will make sure I’m supporting them – please go and do the same so this sister can carry on feeding her ‘habit.’

Look out for my Facebook post for my thoughts on the show itself.

Sister Act is on at the MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands from 9th – 28th May.

Costumes back stage

Watch out for the wimples!

Sister Act The Muscal

Part of the scenery

Props backstage

An original Wurlitzer?

Scenery, backstage at Sister Act the Musical, Singapore

A different view to usual

Wires, cables, musical

Can you imagine trying to find the fuse that blows in this lot?

Delores Sister Act Costume

You can never have too much fur and fringing – Delores costume.

Scenery, backstage at Sister Act the Musical, Singapore

She’s looking very virginal right now – but she has a hidden side. All 16ft of her!

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Not to be missed!

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Jigger & Pony

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As one of the older kids on the block Jigger & Pony is the go-to place for those in the know. Since it’s opening a few years ago, this warm and welcoming bar has proved to be a venue that has firmly ensconced itself in the popular cocktail bar scene for those looking for a classic cocktail.

If it’s a classic Martini you are after then J&P should be high on your list.

Located in the oh so trendy Amoy Street, Jigger & Pony is one of those bars you could easily walk past. Not in the achingly trendy no real door way of some of the bars in Singapore, but in an unassuming, not bigging ourselves up way.

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We visited on a Saturday evening after dinner and the place was packed. Even so, we got a spot at the large bar and made ourselves as comfy as you can on bar stools. We were immediately greeted by the bar staff – who were all busy mixing up drinks – and a waiter handed us a menu to take a look at. The choice is wide but not so vast that you can’t choose. All of your favourites are on there including Gin Fizz and Martinis, as well as some more unusual offerings like a French 75 (gin, lemon and sparkling wine).

They have an extensive whiskey menu, featuring various Japanese, Scotch and Bourbons, to name but a few. In fact, the list of other spirits, wines, beers is pretty extensive too.

The selection of bottles behind the bar really is a sight to behold. My husband and I did our best to decipher some of the labels, suffice to say they have some very special home blends. Although we were tempted by the Punch Bowls that were on the menu – serving 15-20 people no less! – we settled for one cocktail each. Hubby chose a classic Gin Fizz and I went for an Airmail, which claimed to be the ‘fastest way to your happy place.’

IMG_3233The drinks arrived and although not quite as quirky as some of the cocktails we’ve had, it made a pleasant change to see drinks served up in a simple and elegant way. They also tasted great! The Airmail pretty much lived up to its claim too 😉

If you do decide to pay a visit to J&P do also pay a visit to the IMG_3228bathroom. In the ladies at least you will find the walls papered with pages from The Savoy Cocktail Book. With recipes for all the old classics right there it makes a mundane task that little bit more interesting. Huge bonus points for cuteness and quirkiness here.

Overall we really liked the vibe at Jigger & Pony and will definitely head back there. In fact, we found out they have happy hour between 6-8 with cocktails at just $14. Add to that the happy hour snacks that include a Bikini Sandwich and Beef Skewers, we could be back there sooner than we thought.

Oh, and interesting fact of the day – why the name? It’s all explained rather handily in the menu…

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I do love a random fact.

Jigger and Pony
101 Amoy Street
069921
(+65) 9621 1074
www.jiggerandpony.com

Bitters & Love

image3This place was one of the first cocktail bars I visited here in Singapore. My husband and I were looking for somewhere to go where we could chat, have a few drinks and just spend some time together. We hit the jackpot straight away. Since then the bar has actually moved venues, but it still has the same relaxed vibe.

Bitters & Love is run by a guy called Ernest. He came over to us that first evening and introduced himself. Now here’s a guy who loves his job. He was so enthusiastic about the drinks he was serving, the venue, the food, the staff and his customers that we ended up chatting for quite a while. He told us how he’d started the bar himself and wanted to provide a space where people could have a good time and feel at home. It was then he introduced my husband to Geranium gin – apparently its the stuff of dreams. As someone who doesn’t drink gin I couldn’t tell you, but suffice to say it’s now one of hubby’s favourite drinks.

As for the cocktails, the bar staff – who will make you feel welcome immediately – will ask what kind of drink you like, what base, mixer etc. But they don’t need specifics as its the detail they’re good at.

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The perfect alternative to my beloved tea.

I requested something with white rum or vodka base, fruity but not too sweet. I admit to being a bit sceptical at first as wasn’t sure I’d get a drink I’d actually be able to drink, let alone like. But I needn’t have worried. What I got was a little slice of heaven. I don’t know how they knew about me and my tea thing but really, could it have been more ‘me’? It tasted amazing with just the right amount of rum along with something that gave it a kick. The passion fruit gave it a nice fruity edge with enough sharpness to not make it sickly. Yum!

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Bread and jam with your cocktail – why not?

The next one I chose from their cocktail menu. They call it breakfast in a glass – a little jar full of Singapore. For me, it was a little too sweet but hey, that’s Kaya jam for you, but I loved the presentation. The rest of the evening was spent trying some other flavours whilst hubby tucked in to more of the gin. Overall we had a fab night and agreed we’d go back again soon.

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Look out for the subtle sign!

A few weeks later some girlfriends and I were meeting for cocktails and I suggested we try out the ‘new’ Bitters & Love (having heard it had moved home). It’s a bit hidden away and hard to spot – as all the best bars in Singapore are – and it did feel a bit like we were stepping in to a building site. But I quite liked the lack of pretension and the quirky scribble on the doorway letting you know you were in the right place.

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We were ‘quackers’ about this one (sorry!)

Once inside, Fiona, one of the lovely bar staff (who was quick to apologise for the lack of ‘real door’) showed us to our table. Luckily we’d booked ahead as it does get pretty busy. We all ordered different drinks and again the service was helpful, quick and friendly. The drinks we got were completely different to each other. This one was a particular favourite. Despite it’s ‘rock’ name (Tuscan Trident) it was a bit of a cutie – and tasted amazing.

We all loved the atmosphere of the bar and could have happily spent the night there. The only negative for us was that we were sat right under a speaker and couldn’t hear each other properly. However, as soon as we mentioned this to Fiona she turned it down a touch for us.

The food at B&L is worth a try too. With cubes of beef, potatoes ‘chips’ and other yummy favourites on the menu, it’s comfort food at its best.

Overall, as a bar goes, B&L is up there with one of the most comfortable, entertaining (the staff can really throw those bottles around) and friendly joints in Singapore. Add to the mix the amazing cocktails they serve, it’s well worth a visit in my opinion.

If you go along, tell them Five Go Mad says hi!

Bitters & Love
118 Telok Ayer Street
Tel:6438 1836
https://www.facebook.com/BittersandLove?fref=ts

 

Aside

Err… Yes

The life of an expat wife in Singapore is getting more fun there’s no doubt. I have friends that I feel comfortable with, more going on day-to-day, getting lost a bit less, I am actually starting to feel like I live here. With my new years resolution being to say yes to more things I’ve kicked it off with my first proper ‘ladies night.’

In the UK, this ladies night malarkey doesn’t exist. Well, not in the way it does here. There are those ladies nights where groups of women get together and scream embarrassing stuff at male strippers whilst drinking copious amounts of alcohol and dancing around handbags*. But, that’s never appealed to me, I’m just not in to that kind of thing – the stripper bit, not the alcohol (as if!) So I was a little wary of the ladies nights here, wondering if they are similar in their playful debauchery.

*no offence to those that enjoy this kind of shindig!

And as a service to you all I felt obliged to find out.

True to my ‘say yes’ to more things mantra, I forced my butt out of the house midweek. I won’t lie, it was a struggle. Drinking, on a school night and everything. But apparently it’s what us expat wives do here.

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Those in the know are fully conversed in which bars offer the most or best ‘free-flow’ (I’ll come back to that), pizzas and cocktails on ladies night. I don’t, so I just went along to one someone else had organised hoping it would be alright.

I’d met one of the ladies who was going the day before and she was bringing a pal. Lucky she did as numbers started to drop first thing Wednesday morning. By mid afternoon many of those that were coming were bailing. it looked like there would be just the three of us. All good though, I was still going. YES I was.

When I arrived at the bar – The Exchange at Asia Square for those who want to know – it was heaving and I hesitated before going in. After a quick shifty around I spotted another ‘lost’ looking woman and approached her. Something I probably wouldn’t have done before becoming an expat. Turns out she was the friend of the lady I was meeting up with. Lovely, we’d found each other and we chatted whilst waiting for our mutual pal to arrive. We must have looked a bit lost as another woman approached us and asked if we were ok. We admitted we didn’t have a clue so she gave us a quick run down of how it was done.

This is what is great about Singapore, people are willing to say ‘hey, you ok there, do you want some help?’ – especially amongst the expats. So, this very helpful lady explained how this particular ladies night worked (they are all different apparently).

X marked the spot

Branded!

We simply had to go to find the lady with The Stamp. She was to be found behind what looked like a sink full of beer dishing out stamps to women and buckets of beer to men. X marked the spot quite literally. She branded us (our other pal had arrived by then) and gave us a (plastic!) cocktail glass each and nodded towards what looked like juice dispensers.

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Dangerously innocent looking

Red, milky white and bright orange and green were our options. Cosmo, lychee martini and no idea as wasn’t going to drink anything that glows like that.

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Lychee martini’s – yum!

We opted for lychee martinis and boy were they good. This is where ‘free-flow’ enters your vocabulary. Turns out, just because I have a pair of breasts, on a Wednesday I can drink as many of these rather lovely concoctions between 6-9 and NOT PAY A PENNY! Weird right? It’s free-flowing you see? There are free-flow brunches, free-flow ladies night, free-flow parties galore here.

You just have to know where and when.

So, there we were happily quaffing our free cocktails and rather enjoying ourselves. Another lady joined us which made us a merry gang of four. Perfect.

But, come 9 o clock they shut you down. Take away your glass (plastic thing) and you have to slide back in to the reality of paying through the nose for a drink. By then, of course, you’re quite happy to do so. After all you’ve had a few freebies, so why not? The bar definitely emptied out though after the 9 o clock curfew. There are some very astute drinkers in Singapore you know.

We stayed put though and had a fab night of girly chatter and got chatting to some other expats – again something that just seems to happen here. There may even have been a spot of volleyball going on somewhere, but that could have been a rumour.

To top the night off, in a nod to my Essex routes – and the insistence of the Aussies I was with – we did what would be the equivalent of going for a bag of chips and a kebab back home. We hit the hawker centre and devoured some pratas. They were gooooood! Sitting outside on plastic stools in what was essentially a car park, we had the best tasting chicken and banana prata’s ever. Think we may have been ripped off with the price, but still, a bargain late-night meal!

Regretted them the next day though…

So, yes I went out midweek – on a school night and everything – when I didn’t really feel up for it. Yes I went not really knowing anyone. Yes I went along to a bar I’d never been to on my own. Yes I met some great people. Yes I had a great time.Yes I’d go on a ladies night again. And yes, I felt like the proverbial you-know-what the next day. But it was worth it.

See, this saying yes thing is working for me.

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