Welcome to Toy Factory Productions Ltd

Toy Factory Productions Ltd , first established in 1990 under the name Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble, is Singapore’s leading bilingual theatre company. Known for its fiercely original, gutsy and edgy productions, Toy has constantly redefined boundaries with its creative approach to theatre making.

From its humble beginnings as a puppetry theatre company, Toy has evolved through the years into a professional multi-disciplinary theatre company that strives to create works that are accessible to all audiences. Being bilingual enables Toy to address, perform and reach out to both English and Mandarin-speaking audiences, a role which has been challenging, demanding and ultimately, rewarding.

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by Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble

The Straits Times LIFE!
Reviewed by Clarissa Oon
Date : 25 Jul - 21 Sep 2003
Time : 8pm
Venue : The Attic, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road
Rating : ****1/2
Directed by : Beatrice Chia
Written by : Martin Sherman
Cast : : Lim Yu Beng, Mark Richmond, Ian Tan, Brendon Fernandez, Keagan Kang, Chua Enlai, Bonni Sta Maria, Gani Abdul Karim, Ben Xiao, Kevin Murphy, Jonathan Lim, Alex Ng, Mitch Leow, Gerald Chew
Set Design : Goh Boon Teck
Lighting Design : Dorothy Png
Sound Design : Don Richmond
An emotionally demanding script set in Nazi Germany about gay men who must flee from persecution and watch their partners being tortured to death. A long and narrow acting space shaped more like a fashion runway than a proper stage, with audiences stretched out on either side. Apart from rising to these challenges, Toy Factory Theatre Ensemble’s production of Bent marked a coming of age for a flashy theatre company that sometimes rides on hype and controversy, rather than well-thought out, deeply felt material.

Those who stepped into Toy Factory’s spanking new theatre venue with reservations about yet another gay play cashing in on the pink dollar found themselves proven wrong. Anchored by tender, wrenching performances from Mark Richmond and Lim Yu Beng, the 10 well-sculpted Asian bodies on stage made American playwright Martin Sherman’s eloquent script their own.

The design team held up well too, with set designer Goh Boon Teck off-setting the black of the stage with webs of coloured raffia : pink for the glitzier first half and white for the second, evoking the barbed wire fence of a concentration camp. Floorboards opened up to reveal black suited men for a cabaret sequence and, later, granite slabs to be moved by camp inmates, creating seamless transitions.

Dorothy Png’s skilful lighting of what was basically a sloping-roofed attic space added warmth and intimacy. And costume designer Frederick Lee went show stoppingly Goth for a nightclub scene with his spider-web tops and thongs. Directed by Beatrice Chia, the play opens with Max (Richmond), who wakes up with a hangover to find his devoted boyfriend Rudy (Chua En Lai) playing housewife more feverishly than usual. This cosy lovers’ spat shades into the beginning of a nightmare, when Gestapo officers barge into their home and shoot the attractive soldier Max has brought home.

Sherman’s 1979 play is driven by the relationships between characters, rather than ideas or physical action.

The pace of Toy Factory’s opening night production sagged in parts as the actors warmed up to its rigours. By the end of the play, however, as Max is forced to watch his new love Horst (Lim) walk at gun-point towards an electric fence, sobs could be heard from audience members. Sure, Bent’s subject matter – the Nazi witch-hunting of homosexuals – is rooted in a particular time and context.

But Toy Factory’s production brought out its heart : a story about the courage to love, and a love letter to the darkest reaches of the self.








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