[Review] Emily of Emerald Hill

By Clarence Lim

Emily of Emerald Hill returns to the stage with a bang as W!LD RICE brings back the story which marked the group’s birth in 2000.

This moving tale has been performed all over the world to rave reviews, and its return to the Singapore stage has been widely anticipated.

The tale was set in the Peranakan enclave of Emerald Hill, featuring the dominant and tragic character of Emily. She rose from childhood abandonment to become a sophisticated matriarch for a distinguished household, while overcoming countless struggles and obstacles along the way.

Her wit and charm helped her to assimilate into the glorious Peranakan culture, as she heeded her mother-in-law’s advice to be like a ‘diamond’ so that her husband will not leave her.

However, the tale also touched on sensitive themes of suicide, familial pressure, and extra-marital affair. It sought to emphasize that beneath every perfect-looking family and household, there lie deep dark secrets that not many will know of.

The well-curated songs and musical accompaniment served to amplify the emotions of the characters.

This timeless story strikes a chord with the audience as it reflects on the patriarchal society that structured societal interactions and dynamics in the old times but also bears relevance for today.

A passionate woman trying to find her place in this world, it is no surprise that Emily’s story is one that many can relate to.