Murder at Mandai camp: Cocktails and crime at Singapore's first interactive Zoom theatre

Chong Tze Chien, playwright and director of Murder at Mandai Camp.
PHOTO: City Nomads

Murder most foul… or the grisly work of the supernatural? That's the haunting question you must solve in Murder at Mandai Camp, a first-of-its-kind theatrical thriller staged live through Zoom.

The closure of venues has pushed Singapore's theatre companies to get creative, and few more so than Sight Lines Entertainment. Known for its immersive productions - notably its 2016 Lord of the Flies - Sight Lines is now blurring the lines between stage and film, audience and actors.

Directed by the acclaimed Chong Tze Chien, Murder at Mandai Camp throws audiences into the thick of action as investigators, tasked to uncover the truth behind a soldier's gruesome death.

The mystery kicks off during a not-so-routine outfield exercise, when the disembowelled corpse of young recruit Rozells is found.

Some believe it the work of an evil spirit lurking in the jungle, but there are more earthly suspects: A lieutenant with a bone to pick against the deceased, a mate who mysteriously went AWOL during the exercise.

Armed with your trusty investigator's handbook (aka Telegram chat), you must decipher the evidence fed to you in real time, and ultimately cast your vote for the guilty party.

Expect to find plenty of familiar Singapore urban legends woven in - for NS men, it's a spine-tingling chance to see army myths come to life.

The spook factor is upped by multimedia designer Genevieve Peck's blending of traditional stage props with film production techniques, turning the rooms in which the actors perform into a chilling alternate reality.

This is one play you'll need some liquid courage for, so amp up the experience with cocktails from laut. Newly launched by drinks veterans Frank Shen (American Taproom) and Leon Tan (previously managing Native), the bar has handpicked two quintessentially local tipples to pair.

Drink in the jungle experience with Grass - a toasty concoction of rojak gin, rice vinegar, and homemade grass kombucha - or get fired up with Dragonfruit, a tangy blend of Straits spiced vodka, smoked longan, and sour plum cordial. At only $38 per 250ml bottle (usual price $48), the stage is set for a criminally good night.

Tickets are pay-as-you-wish, starting from $15. If you wish to support this innovative production, you have the option of paying up to $50.

With no plans in sight for theatres to reopen just yet, every bit of help for Singapore's vibrant theatre scene certainly counts.

Murder at Mandai Camp: A Supernatural Murder Mystery runs from June 26 to 28 2020, 10pm-11pm. Priced at $15, tickets are available on SISTIC, where the cocktails are also available for purchase as an add-on at $38 per 250ml bottle from Laut. 

This article was first published in City Nomads.