Review: 'Musical Taru' is a kid-friendly show about a museum that comes alive

Wong Casandra
·Senior Reporter
(PHOTO: Resorts World Sentosa)
(PHOTO: Resorts World Sentosa)

Locally adapted from a 2016 South Korean box office hit, Musical Taru is a trippy treat for museum and dinosaur lovers.

The family-friendly Mandarin-language musical tells the tale of a bushy-eyed trio – brother and sister pair Nali and Gao Feng, and Nali’s suitor Da Fa (played by Taiwan-based Singaporean artist Wong Jinglun) – and their visit to a fictional natural history museum in Singapore.

Much to his sister’s chagrin, overactive troublemaker Gao Feng, who is a dinophile, is especially intrigued by the museum’s latest attraction: a rare pair of mother-and-child T-rex fossils.

Unfortunately, the fossil of baby T-rex Taru also catches the keen eyes of another brother-and-sister pair who has some nefarious plans up their sleeves – their timely theft sets the story in motion.

It also so happens that the theft happens just before a special lunar eclipse that allows the museum’s unusual residents to come back to life, including Cleopatra (played by Taiwanese songbird Freya Lim), Mummy “James Bond”, Admiral Zheng He and terracotta warriors.

Taru’s protective T-rex mother Tila – whose fossil stands at 2.5m tall – too comes to life to a nasty surprise and escapes the museum to Bukit Timah Hill.

It is at this point where the young trio and the museum’s resurrected residents cross paths. The three merrymakers, whose antics had earlier got them kicked out of the museum, fatefully decided to sneak into the place again to snap some photos.

The musical, obviously tailored for a younger audience, showcases upbeat tunes with a positive message, including over-the-top tracks like I Love Museums, At the Museum and Let’s Go Volunteers!.

Fossils Came Alive! is a lively introduction to the museum’s inhabitants, including the much-anticipated dinosaur fossils – fun fact: more than 570 “bones” were used to make the puppets!

The campy and humorous Hunters at Night also deserves a shout-out for its energetic choreography and wordplay. Shh…Sneaking Around is also performed to great comedic effect as the nefarious brother and sister pair prances about the museum clumsily during their heist.

However, emotional and stirring tracks like Understand and In Our Hearts remind viewers that the musical is not just all fun and laughter. The latter especially is a poignant goodbye to their new-found friends, whom they can only meet the next time they come to life.

Musical Taru isn’t the type of musical you would bring your date to, but if you are looking to entertain young kids or win over your nieces and nephews, it’s a good way to spend the evening.

Musical Taru runs from now to 13 January next year at the Resorts World Theatre. Tickets range from $38 to $108 (without dinner).

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