Preview: Forever Young (2021) by Sing’theatre

The last 2 years of the pandemic can make you feel as if you’ve aged 100 years, but Sing’theatre is here to remind you that you can always find a smidgen of youth, no matter how old you are, as their hit musical Forever Young returns this September at the Drama Centre theatre.

Last staged in 2017, Forever Young celebrates Sing’theatre’s 15th anniversary, and is set 50 years in the future, where in the year 2071, we join a group of retired actors living in a nursing home. These zany nonagenarians – formerly the pillars of Singapore’s art scene – are determined to prove that it is not all behind them. The residents do as they are told, but, once their no-nonsense caregiver Sister Sara leaves the room, the pensionable performers belt out musical theatre canons, rock classics, and more – the way that only old people can!

Originally written by Swiss playwright Erik Gedeon and adapted by Benjamin “Mr Miyagi” Lee, much like the story itself, the Singaporean twist of this European cult hit features a star-studded cast of renowned local thespians. Directed by Hossan Leong, the cast includes Leong himself, alongside Karen Tan and Julian Wong, with all three reprising their roles from the 2017 staging. They will be joined by radio personality Denise Tan, Mark Waite, Kimberly Chan, and Gurmit Singh, the latter of whom this marks a come back to the local theatre scene after 16 years.

Through the cast’s arthritic dance moves and renditions of familiar songs that include Jay-Z’s Forever Young, Amy Winehouse’s Rehab, Bruno Mars and Silk Sonic’s Leave The Door Open and Aqua’s Barbie Girl, the eponymous musical revue will shine the spotlight on eldercare in Singapore. But beyond the cheery jukebox of hits, Forever Young also tackles important issues such as dementia and other illnesses associated with aging, as well as the mental and psychological wellness of the aged that are largely disregarded.

“The issues surrounding ageing and eldercare discussed in Forever Young are part and parcel of life — they are universal. It is especially pertinent in Singapore’s context, where the country is increasingly pressured to tackle problems surrounding a quickly ageing population,” says Nathalie Ribette, Artistic Director and Founder of Sing’theatre.

“We are delighted to be able to look at these issues and present them in a lighthearted and ultimately heartwarming manner!” Hossan Leong adds. “I directed this play with the idea of ‘hope’ permeating throughout the play — growing old should not diminish one’s optimism and zest for living! I hope that through Forever Young, audiences will develop more empathy and a better understanding of growing old.

Forever Young runs from 22nd September to 3rd October 2021 at Drama Centre. Tickets available from SISTIC

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