The Crab Flower Club


Set in a respectable household in the Qing Dynasty, five daughters come forth on the eve of their father’s 60th birthday to prepare the most delicately complex feast of crabs for their patriarch, as well as the setting up of an all-women poetry club.

As each of them conjures up their inner recipe, the 5 ladies assemble their intelligence, talents and secrets nakedly on the table. The Crab Flower Club is a delicious examination on the excitingly calligraphic world of sensitivity and simmering feelings. They become audience to their multi-faceted universe of morality, conspiracy and philosophy.

Acclaimed for his design and literary flair, author and director Goh Boon Teck’s latest work is based on poems in Cao Xue Qin’s masterpiece, Dream of the Red Chamber.

The Crab Flower Club is a calligraphic foray into the sensitive and simmering world of the female protagonists, accompanied by a live painting performance by Hong Sek Chern who unfolds the play’s setting as it progresses. With Franz Liszt’s symphonic poem – Les Preludes, sound design by Darren Ng, and a stellar cast, this sumptuous production is set to be an aural and visual gem that will shed light on the feminine psyche.

An English lyrical play set in the Qing Dynasty, Goh Boon Teck’s latest masterpiece features 7 beautiful poems from Cao Xue Qin’s A Dream Of The Red Chamber. Featuring acclaimed actresses Nell Ng, Jean Ng, Janice Koh, Noorlinah Mohd and Pat Toh as the irresistible ladies of the forbidden era. They are accompanied by Award winning Ink Artist Hong Sek Chern’s live performance, Franz Liszt’s symphonic poem Les Preludes, Darren Ng’s cutting edge Sound Design, Dorothy Png’s sensitive illumination, Anthony Tan’s intricate costume designs and Ashley Lim’s ingenious hair designs. The Crab Flower Club promises to caress your innermost emotion and sensitivity.

I had arrived early at the National Museum. With a half hour before the play started, I decided it would be a nice treat to grab a drink at the swanky (but starkingly empty) restaurant in the museum. On the recommendation of the bartender, I ordered a house martini – some passion fruit concoction that went down well. Very nice. What a relaxing way to kick off the weekend, I thought, as my phone rang.

It was Cristalle, asking where I was. Breezily, I told her to come find me at the bar. Bar, what bar? Oops, the play was actually at the National Library. Not the museum.

This was one instance where I was grateful for the compactness of our little island. I downed the dregs, foot the bill, and strode quickly but somewhat sheepishly out the door. No wonder the museum seemed so deserted.

But hey, I made it to the play on time. 🙂

After Wednesday’s disappointing play, I was careful not to hold much expectation for the evening’s performance. It turned out to be a totally fun play to catch! To be sure, the play was a little campy and cheesy, with intentionally exaggerated accents and emotions, but the audience lapped up the lines because it didn’t take itself seriously. The backdrop of the play itself was set against a more serious tone, and explored the cloistered lives of women in a chauvinistic and decaying Chinese empire.

My excitement for the rest of the line up for the Arts Fest is restored, in time for this evening’s performance. 🙂 And yes, I have already double checked the venue.


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