Preview- Lions, Typhoons and Judy Oh My!



As typhoon season has officially started, Sweet & Sour Productions celebrates Hong Kong in style with a brand new and locally written play, Lions, Typhoons and Judy Oh My!



The play, written by Michael Sharmon, looks at Judy Garland's tumultuous time in Hong Kong in 1964 following a controversial Australian tour when she was booed off stage when unable to perform. When reporters asked her what she was suffereing from, she replied "Australia!".  She checked into The Mandarin Oriental Hotel with Mark Herron, her soon-to-be fourth husband, in an attempt to forget her troubles. However, bad reviews and Typhoon Viola struck, causing Judy to overdose on pills. She was rushed to the Canossa Hospital, making headlines around the world when it was reported that she had died. Luckily that was not the case and she rallied round, returning to the Mandarin and discovered a hidden gem in a Hong Kong nightclub.



The play also looks at significant events and relationships Judy had throughout her life, most notably with her mother (Ethel Gumm), the head of MGM Studios (Louis B. Mayer), and her husbands.



The play is a co-production between Sweet & Sour Productions and Golden Voice Entertainment.

Sharmon has been a fan of Garland since he was a child and believes her time in Hong Kong makes for a rich and fascinating story. Sharmon is not new to scriptwriting, as he presented the musical Auditions in 2016, one of the most amazing projects of the year. Anyone who puts his heart and soul into writing a script and then staging it, especially in Hong Kong, deserves special recognition.



"The writing process was extremely enjoyable because when you write about something you love and are already passionate about, then it makes the challenges of putting the story together exciting, interesting and fun. Having been a loyal fan of Judy Garland since I was five years old, it made the writing process all the more special as I was able to research and then create a play on a subject that already held a huge fascination for me. Probably the biggest challenge was to offer a new perspective. There are so many amazing books, films, and TV movies about Judy Garland's life, and so we didn't want to repeat or copy them, but I am very excited about what we are presenting."



Candice Moore, who portrays Garland in the play, has been a fan of the actress since she was a child herself. "I watched her films, listened to her albums and read many biographies about her. I was drawn to her tremendous talent and versatility as a performer and also her struggles with addiction and mental illness. So when I read that she visited Hong Kong in 1964 my interest was piqued. Not many people know she came here and so I think the show will appeal to Hong Kong theatre-goers."



The play features Candice Moore as Judy Garland, Ivan Idzik as Mark Herron, Kath O'Connor as Ethel Gumm, Raymond Chan as Doctor Tan, and Michael Sharmon as Frank Gumm.



Jacqueline Gourlay-Grant, the Director, has enjoyed working with a new script that looks at Garland's escapades in Hong Kong. She has stated that her ideal directing method is to stimulate the actors' contributions, to allow them to take her places she could not have imagined on her own. The challenge, excitement, and joy of directing, according to Gourlay-Grant, is working towards creating thousands of individual moments that eventually flow together at alternating, shifting,and changing rhythms, tempos, and paces.



 "It’s bridging gaps between physical action and spoken language, actor and text, and the joy of working an exciting new script about the iconic Judy Garland and her escapades in Hong Kong. Once all of those bridges are in place, you’ll have a show that runs on its own energy. The challenge, excitement, and joy of directing is working towards that end with a very talented cast and honouring Judy’s memory in the most respectful way."


The project has been in the pipeline for Moore and Sharmon for several years. It is fantastic for them to see it blossoming and put into production.

Lions, Typhoons and Judy Oh My! plays at the Fringe Underground Theatre from June 27 through to June 30. Tickets are available at Art Mate. For more information, click





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