*Warning, just skim through the pictures if you don’t want to spoil your theatre experience!
ANDSOFORTH is a series of pop-up theatrical feasts that unites your gastronomic and artistic urges into one experience. Plot twists, secrets, drama… you’ll never know what to expect when you’re served by and dining with actors in character.
This time round in 2016, the theme dinner revolves around the novel ‘If We Dream Too Long’ by Singaporean writer, Goh Poh Seng.
Founded by Stuart Wee and Emily Png, this experience is deeply influenced by London’s underground dining sub-culture. The ANDSOFORTH creative team consists of actors, set designers, chefs, costume designers, illustrators, copywriters, scriptwriters/producers, lighting designers, sound scape artists who aspires to make out-of-the-world immersive dining experiences in Singapore.
To attend such a dinner with a show, to-be diners have to head to their website first and book their tickets online. The location, which changes every time, is kept secret and is only revealed on the day of the dinner in the form of clues via SMS. I suppose it’s this exclusivity and mystery that made us somewhat excited for the dinner.
We won’t be explaining too much about the story, however each scene is inter-connected into one storyline.
Once you step into the room, you are greeted by actors in character straight away. This is the first of many scenes that we experienced, all of which had excellent settings that matched the theme of their story this time around – 1960s Singapore.
The actors are expert improvisers and are ready to react to anything you throw at them. This is the most fun aspect of the experience.
This interaction also makes this experience a phenomenally multi-sensory one.
You could be yourself… or not, just for this one night! Either way, you’d feel like you’re starring in a production. So the theatre aspect of ANDSOFORTH is really good, what about the drinks?
From left to right, we have the Lychee Paradise ($14), Floaty Pineapple ($13) and Longevity Island ($17). The Longevity Island was a particular stand-out. What’s in it? Barcadi, vodka, gin, tequila, grand marnier, lemon juice, simple and coke – its a long island tea basically. They also have beers and wines on offer. Now, off to the next scene…
From the KTV bar to the diner, after we grabbed a few beers and cocktails, we were ready to be fed. The menu was also kept completely secret so in accordance with the theme of this month’s dinner, we were served Mee Siam.
The Mee Siam tasted pretty good – could have been served with hotter gravy, but it was good enough thick, savoury gravy really. The tofu was soft and the prawn was juicy, while the vermicelli could be less dry, however you can see there are some limitations to preparing a live dinner according to the show schedule. There are vegetarian options too, if you were wondering.
Seth: The food for this round of ANDSOFORTH’s production has been a major step-up from the previous renditions, so one can’t complain.
In the next room, we continued with the story and food trail in a picnic-themed scene. We were given mats to sit on instead of chairs.
We were also served finger food like fried fish ball, ngo hiang and otah ball which was a bit underwhelming because you wouldn’t expect to be served something you could find at an Old Chang Kee store if you were paying $88. The otah ball was probably the best of the three choices, but kudos to keeping to the retro Singapore theme.
In the next scene with apek, we were warmly greeted by ah ma‘s smile. The room had a family vibe to it.
Doesn’t this remind you of Reunion Dinner during Chinese New Year? The scene felt almost as if this was real life, despite the fact we were strangers that met probably 30-45 minutes ago. Very immersive and realistic indeed.
Then apek and ah ma both served us some Kapitan Curry Chicken with Acar Acar – this time it arrived warm and that was a very welcome touch. Again, if you’re not one who handles spice well, there are other options!
The curry chicken was better than the Mee Siam. The rice was soft and the curry was fragrant. The skin was still attached to the chicken thigh and having been slightly grilled, the fatty juices were water-falling into the rice. Thereafter, we walked into the final scene of the story for dessert.
We were gathered around a table as the characters continued to tell the last part of the story. The room was traditionally decorated for a Chinese Wedding in the 1960s. See the hong paos? There were even people saying yum seng in the background.
Then we cracked into eating kuih putri salat. Accompanied by a blob of coconut jelly, dashes of coconut milk and purple petals, it was an instagram-worthy affair.
Definitely give ANDSOFORTH’s dinner this time round a try at least once. The food has been improved substantially but isn’t really the highlight of the whole experience, rather the acting and decor settings are. It is also a place where you could bring a date or just have fun with a couple of close friends. It’s fancy, yet not too fancy.
So, go for the theatrics, art and alcohol, I assure you’re in good hands for a good hour and a little more.
Expected Damage: $88/pax
Shows start from 5pm onwards up until 9pm which is the final entry. Each show lasts around an hour and a half. The dates for this month’s “If We Dream Too Long” are:
• 13 May Friday
• 14 May Saturday
• 15 May Sunday
• 20 May Friday
• 21 May Saturday
• 22 May Sunday
• 28 May Saturday
• 29 May Sunday