Preview- The Two Gentlemen of Verona- Shax Theatre Group


By: Thomas Chan


Hardcore Shakespeare fans can often get bored by seeing the same favorites tread the boards over and over again. I mean, let's think about many productions of Romeo and Juliet we are subjected to yearly? Shax Theatre Group is answering our demands for something a little different with their latest production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. One of Shakespeare's earliest scripts it covers a myriad of issues, while providing some laughs and love. We had a chance to sit down and chat with the cast of Two Gentlemen. They're sparkling energy and their passion for theatre is always a joy to be around.


"As this year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare, we wanted to...commemorate the occasion. Doing a popular Shakespeare comedy would be an easy way to do this, but we wanted to appreciate Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, which to us could be as fun as the famous ones," says director of the show Rosalind Wong. "Two Gentlemen is a play that provides ample opportunities for re-contextualization - we decided that setting it in the rock n' roll 1950s is a refreshing way to look at this less popular play of the Bard... The 1950s context does insert a new burst of energy into the play, making it so fun and exhilarating to watch. We also modeled our characters on 1950’s icons to spice up the play, which was really fun for our image team."


On the surface, the plot of The Two Gentlemen of Verona seems simple particularly at the beginning: a young man, Valentine, sets out in the world to seek his fortune and to find true love; meanwhile, his best friend, Proteus, remains at home to accomplish the same things. Love and friendship. These are issues that everyone can identify with, regardless of nationality!



Shax Theatre Group has become a staple for the Hong Kong theatre scene over the past few years producing several productions including; Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Hamlet. Their mission is to preserve Shakespeare’s heritage and promote theatre culture to local youths. They believe that theatrical presentation and appreciation of Shakespeare's works can add to students’ perspectives in learning literature while learning to appreciate the arts and gain greater understanding for life. Shakespeare is covered in the local school curriculum but many Hong Kong students struggle with the Bard.


"Shakespearean works may not be the most exciting choice for many... which is, I think, a shame.  There is so much value and wisdom in those pages that holds true still to today, such as concepts like fate, leadership, and relationship. I believe the best way to make Shakespeare more interesting and accessible is to put it on stage, and this not only goes for Hong Kong audiences but also for people everywhere," says Marco Wong, who is the producer of the play and a local University student. 


The cast and crew of this delightful production are very excited to see you this weekend. They've put their heart and soul into the show and hope that audiences will enjoy their new "twist and shout" on one of Shakespeare's first forays into comedy.



Actor, Brian Lau loves the addition of music into the show and the setting of the play in the 1950's. "I really enjoyed the dancing! I never expected there would be dancing in a Shakespearean play... It is definitely one of the most unique experiences I think I have ever had!"


Those worried about the language barrier in the production need not fear. Many of the actors in The Two Gentlemen of Verona are from outside Hong Kong; like Germany, India and Korea, and so are naturally fluent in English. Almost everyone involved in the show are students at the University of Hong Kong where English is the main language of instruction. But all the cast agreed that learning English doesn't compare to the challenge of memorizing the Bard's work!


The Two Gentlemen of Verona is playing this weekend at HKU. There are three shows this week on the 6th, 7th and 8th of April (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) starting at 7:30pm. Performances will be at Theatre 303 in the Chong Yuet Ming Amenities Center on the University of Hong Kong campus. House will open at 7:15pm for registration. Student tickets are priced at 70hkd and standard tickets are 120hkd.  The production is family friendly and if you have any questions about the show you are encouraged to email the company at You can also check out their Facebook page.


For more information on The Two Gentlemen of Verona, click here.



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