Citizens' Reviews

2014 – 2019 @ 42 Waterloo Street

Citizens’ Reviews is a critical writing platform by Centre 42 for anyone who is curious to learn how to document their opinions, thoughts; and pen their perspectives on the performances and productions they had just watched. An open call is conducted annually, inviting up-and-coming theatre critics to participate and use the opportunity to hone their craft, and join a growing community of fellow reviewers.

Each year, selected Citizen Reviewers will:

  • Be given tickets to attend a wide range of local theatre productions of their choice
  • Write and submit reviews for editing and feedback
  • Participate in monthly meet-ups with the editor and fellow Citizen Reviewers to discuss a range of topics related to the local theatre landscape and the art of review writing
  • Have their bios and written reviews published on Centre 42’s website


This programme encourages independent learning and is not designed like a course. Reviewers embark on a week-long training programme at the start of their term, and are encouraged to attend monthly meet-ups with the programme editor and fellow reviewers. Throughout the rest of the term, reviewers are expected to work directly and proactively with the editor to feedback on and improve their writing.

Through Citizens' Reviews, Centre 42 also documents local theatre and encourages discourse and informed opinions among art enthusiasts.

This programme ran from 2014 to 2019, completing 6 editions. A total of 513 reviews were written and published by 36 Citizen Reviewers. 376 unique productions from 196 groups were reviewed. These groups included major companies, independent practitioners, tertiary institutions and unique collaborations between artists.

Citizens' Reviews Open Calls

View all



Tartuffe (2015), Review
Tartuffe Entertains in  Mandarin By now, Nine Years Theatre has carved a niche in staging mandarin adaptations of classic western plays; and their signature appears to be having the actors stand around as the audience enters. Given the configurations of the gallery theatre, it feels like I am about to watch an amateur show put up in someone’s living room. Thankfully, that feeling goes away the moment the show starts. Written in 1664, Tartuffe is a satire that exposes the hypocrisy of
Isaac Tan
Reviewed: 5 February 2015
Tartuffe (2015), Review
Oh my fraud A well-calibrated and charming piece that shows off Molière’s softer side. “A sin that no one knows is no sin,” quips the artfully pious conman, Tartuffe, in the middle of the play, as he reveals his true wickedness for the first time. Moments later, he is caught with his pants down (yes, literally). Nine Years Theatre returns with an adaptation of Molière’s comedy, Tartuffe. Translated into Mandarin and also directed by Nelson Chia, the original storyline is kept largely intact
Walter Chan
Reviewed: 7 February 2015
National Language Class (2016), Review
National Language Class In National Language Class, the meaning and format of the play is established early on. The play’s programme guide resembles a school exercise book, and on the first page is a reproduction of the painting upon which the play is based. As I enter the doors of the City Hall Chamber, I am greeted by the same pastel yellow walls depicted in the painting. As we take our seats, the assembling audience is greeted by a character in the play, a student in white dress uniform. It is cl
Andrew Yuen
Reviewed: 22 January 2016
National Language Class (2016), Review
一言两语 这部戏是因一幅画于1959年间的画而得到启发,剧情分成三个环节,均于1959年间(日期乃黑板上所注)上的三堂课。原本只是来看戏的我,也成了戏里的学生,当真在上一堂马来语课。一开始演员与观众互动教我们马来语。后来,这几幕戏反复学习同样几句。 戏里的老师和学生也在争论一幅画,后者强调画里的浪漫气息,前者却认为那幅画根本不理解他们的语境,听不到他们说的话。1959年,课室内发生这样的紧张与对持使我联想到当时的华人是否渴望拥有属于自己的一片天空,语言的选择方面得到自由,不应被马来亚束缚,而老师那份“现实”的语气清楚地让学生知道只要身在马来亚,便需学马来语,以融入社会。 直到第三场,蒙太奇的戏份登场。师生二人犹如唱大戏般兜圆圈,同一时间用不同的语言叙述同样的故事,老师以马来语叙述,学生则运用华语。这场蒙太奇式的体现,把演出提升到最高点。 当两种语言同时混合出现时,这导致了一种模糊,一种选择。观众是倾听马来语还是华语的部分?最直接的说法是马来观众会听马来语,而华人族群则听华语,简言为各自理解或觉得“舒服”的语言。这不禁让人深思,能运用两种语言的华人会选择听哪一种语言?马来语或华语?
Lim Wei Bin
Reviewed: 23 January 2016
Furthest North, Deepest South (2015), Review
Furthest North, Deepest South First staged by The Finger Players in 2004, Furthest North, Deepest South tells the story of the eunuch Cheng Ho, and his tumultuous brotherly relationship with Emperor Zhu Di as well as his eventual mission to sail the world in search of new lands. Entering the performance space, one would immediately notice the unconventional staging. With a minimal amount of sets used, the audience was situated at four ends of a cubic space, a rather peculiar directorial choi
Casidhe Ng
Reviewed: 22 March 2015
SEED (2015), Review
The Seed of Life An intense spiritual experience that rethinks concepts of love and loss. As I left the theatre after the performance, I was struggling to find a word to encapsulate my feelings towards this piece by The Finger Players. I was disturbed, but not in a bad way. I was anxious for more, but I was satisfied with the length of the play. And I think that’s the true beauty of SEED – it creates this complex emotion within you, like many different flavours coming together on one’s pa
Walter Chan
Reviewed: 29 October 2015
SEED (2015), Review
Thin Lines Audience is greeted by a stark white stage after entering the theatre, hinting at a minimalist production. The actors, dressed in all white, play multiple roles in various stories that surround an Asian staple, rice. From there, it springboards into themes of living and dying; separation and reunion; fleetingness and rootedness. White, which is the colour of rice, is the colour of purity and hope. Paradoxically, it is also the colour that can be most easily soiled. Seed, prod
Beverly Yuen
Reviewed: 31 October 2015
The Spirits Play (2015), Review
A puppeteer's spin on a classic script A life-size dummy hanging on a noose greets us. Even in the dim light, one can clearly make out its silhouette. On the floor, four other bodies lay motionless. Each ‘corpse’ is ‘buried’ beneath a heap of white paper confetti that resembles snowflakes. After a while, they start looking like papier mâché mummies. When the lights come on, three figures in black appear. Their faces are painted black, leaving a margin of skin bordering their faces, resulting in a mask
Sam Kee
Reviewed: 5 November 2015