Posts Tagged ‘Ming Ho’

I’ve been to a lot of site-specific theatre, but an up-market Chinese restaurant during service hours is a first, and as it turns out a particularly intimate experience.

Linda came from Hong Kong with her parents many years ago and has been living in Edinburgh for 40 years, where her now estranged husband continues to run their small chain of restaurants. She has four grown-up children, but two live in America. She’s down in London to have dinner with the other two, son Jun and daughter Jane. He’s an actor, about to marry his Dutch girlfriend. She is a businesswoman hoping to soon become a Tory MP, and unbeknown to her mother and brother until tonight, to marry her English partner Matthew.

Linda’s big news is her decision to return to Hong Kong, before Jun’s wedding which she doesn’t want to attend because of his step-mother. We listen to their conversations through headphones from, in my case, the next table, eating an appetiser and drinking a cocktail. The waiters go about their business. It’s very authentic. Playwright Ming Ho packs a lot into 45 minutes, maybe too much, with all the reconciliations and conclusions seeming a bit rushed and therefore a touch implausible. However, the examination of differing perspectives on belonging are handled well and its very engaging, occasionally moving. Linda feels she belongs where she was born more than where she’s lived most of her life. Jane is a fully fledged Brit. Jun sees himself as a Scot of Chinese heritage, embracing both. The three actors – Pik Sen Lim, Siu Hun Li & Jennifer Lim – are very believable as a family.

This is part of the inaugural Chinese Arts Now mini-festival which on this form has got off to a flying start

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