Singapore’s Iconic ‘Boom Boom Room’ Is Back With A Live Cabaret Show Of Drag Queens & More

’90s Singapore was a lively, near riotous affair — the good kind — if we were to take Kumar‘s words to heart. And why wouldn’t we? As one of Singapore’s top entertainers, and the distinction of being a resident performer at the original Boom Boom Room cabaret nightclub when it was located at Bugis Street, he talked about the once-controversial drag scene in Singapore.

“The police were on our back; they didn’t have a book to follow. They were making rules along the way, this cannot, that cannot,” he told us. “So I was like, okay, how about I prove to you that this can, and if you got no complaints, don’t take action!”

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since. With feisty renditions of Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ and Lady Gaga classics in the bag, Singapore’s own reigning drag queens join Las Vegas’ acrobats, local singer Nat Ho, and even a mentalist, for a reinvented Boom Boom Room, now held at Marina Bay Sands.

Dick Lee at the Boom Boom Room press call.
Kumar at the Boom Boom Room press call.

Happening till 19 December, this one’s a contemporary cabaret helmed by Dick Lee as Creative Director, who also composed an original music piece for the live show. You’ll hear its unmistakable disco-synth beats across the auditorium the moment the (proverbial) curtain drops, a punchy number that garners your attention, much like the dazzling costumes worn by the queens.

“80s retro future — that was the concept,” said Lee when asked about the overall direction he had set. “The space was available after their previous show,” he said about a conversation with Milan Rokic, CEO of Sliding Doors Entertainment, “So we were discussing what we could do, and I thought, you know what, we have this thing called ‘Boom Boom Room’. I’m an avid fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, so why not do a new version of Boom Boom Room?”

L to R – Helda, Nat Ho, Kumar, Vanda Miss Joaquim, Tiara Sorrel, Lysa and Anna Stacia.

Enter, this new take, which balances contemporary staging and performers, with necessary homage to Singapore’s past. “In the ’90s, Boom Boom Room was a bit more traditional, more disco. We’re taking that element and making it more contemporary, but still keeping the essence of it. There will be a nod to, say, dance music of the past, ’70s and ’80s, as a nod to our origins,” said Lee.

Still, he emphasised how the scene is different today: “You can’t just buy gowns from the boutique downstairs, we now have to create these elaborate, handmade gowns.”

This perhaps alludes to the far more elaborate staging of our 2021 live show, in terms of both show-stopping aesthetics and a diverse cast of talents. On the roster are seasoned drag performers Helda and Lysa, who were both part of the original cabaret show, as well as the fabulous Vanda Miss Joaquim, Anna Stacia, and Tiarra Sorrel, who delight with energetic numbers and, perhaps, an unexpected death drop if you’re lucky.

Vanda Miss Joaquim.
Tiara Sorrel.
Anna Stacia.

Apart from that, we may also expect contemporary acts such as Volta Wheel by David Matz, with his mesmerising holographic Cyr Wheel; a mind-twisting segment by Mentalist Mark; as well as the BoomBoxx Dancers and local singer Nat Ho.

Needless to say, the current show is also headlined by ‘OG Diva’ Kumar, who spared none of his casually-cutting wit the moment the comedian hit the stage. Perhaps he best summed up our night of vivid entertainment when he quipped this at the opening show: “You want family entertainment, go next door.”

He’s right, of course. “For a 90-minute show, you need a bit more; you’d want a bit of variation,” said Lee of Boom Boom Room‘s updated format. “I looked at traditional cabaret shows in other countries, and they’re more like variety shows, just in the night club. There’d be a singer, a magician, dancer, comedian, all in one setting — but a little raunchier.” We have to admit, it’s this attitude — a little bit of tongue-in-cheek sass, some near-NSFW teases — that makes this R18 show stand out from our usual fare.


Calling it “full-on entertainment”, Kumar also acknowledged how a live show like this can bring some much-needed levity in our current anxious climate, staged at a time when the country’s live entertainment scene is just opening up after strict social distancing restrictions. “Just come and watch the show, keep yourself entertained.”

“Everyone needs to laugh and to keep themselves occupied; come with an open mind and enjoy it. And those who’ve been there at Boom Boom Room in the 90s, please come, relive the past!”


Boom Boom Room, now running at Sands Expo and Convention Centre Hall C for a limited season at 7 shows each week, till 19 December 2021. book your tickets here.
all photos by ADELE CHAN, shot on LEICA.