The Secret Life of Haw Par Villa : Experience the park in a different light




When is the last time you had been to Haw Par Villa?

To be honest, it has been decades since I had stepped into the park. Perhaps it is the memory of hideous statues in all states of torture at the 10 courts of hell that left a disturbing memory. So much so, I did not even bring my children to visit the park.

Fast forward to last weekend, the missus and I headed down to Haw Par Villa to have a peek at 'The Secret Life of Haw Par Villa' - an interactive theatrical tour. Not only will we get to explore the park in the dark, but we also have a personalised tour from Mr Tiger Balm King himself - Aw Boon Haw.

Let the Tour Begin

This tour is unlike your normal tourist tour. Instead, you will be treated to a performance in Singapore's oldest theme park. The tour is curated by Strawberries Inc and Patch and Punnet.

The theatre tour started at the gates of Haw Par Villa where you are greeted by Mr Aw Boon Haw, the creator of Haw Par Villa who had built this park for his brother, Aw Boon Park. The park was originally known as Tiger Balm Gardens, a name taken from the Tiger Balm medical ointment the siblings' father created. 

How do I know these? 

It was told by Mr Aw during the tour itself. We love the performance cum tour that made us more attentive and intrigued by the history.


There are essentially 4 main characters during the play. The next person we met was the enigmatic ghost at the famed Court of Hell. The play included a tour of the 10 Courts of Hell.

 


Personally, we think this segment could be longer as there are so many things to see there.

Lan Cai He

After the 10 courts, we were greeted by Lan Cai He of the 8 immortals. This immortal of ambiguous gender entertained us with a comical stint at the Underground Grotto, which incidentally is the spot where you can catch the impressive Eight Immortals diorama

During our tour, it began to pour. Since this is a rain or shine performance, ponchos were provided. 


The next stop is the Monkey King at the Monke King Diorama as we learn about his antics.

During the tour, there are also interactive games hosted by Aw Boon Haw and his brother Aw Boon Haw. Surprisingly, the games were pretty light-hearted and fun.

As for the finale, we do not want to spoil it, but it was a performance that Eminem would be proud of.

Is this is a theatre tour for everyone?

A trip to Haw Par Villa after hours may sound like a scary experience, but the overall experience was more fun than fearful.

The dark (and the rain) added to the atmosphere, we think this play is suitable even for primary school children. As for younger kids, since this is a 100-minute walking tour with no stops and some walking, it may not be suitable for them. On that note, the tour is also not fully wheelchair accessible at this moment. During the tour, you will be divided into groups to ensure that there is a safe distance between groups.

Personally, we enjoyed the refreshing take on the park. Kudos to the actors and actresses who put up a good show for everyone. Come to think about it, this was our first theatre performance since the Covid19 started and it's a refreshing re-introduction back to the world of theatre.

The show will premiere from 7 January to 26 February. Prices are at $49 for students and children under 12 and $59 for adults. There is a 10% Sistic Christmas Sale 2021 Fundle Bundle (5 tickets) discount.

You can get your tickets here.







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