Review- Adrift In Macao- Hong Kong Singers




By David Ogilvie



Set in 1950's Macao, Adrift in Macao is an often side-splitting parody of classic film noir. The usual suspects are all here: Laureena, the slinkily dressed dame (Izzy Trujillo Jose); Rick Shaw, the cynical casino owner (Sam Craig); Mitch, the American framed for murder (Marek Steenkamp); the "inscrutable", intelligent, Chinese man-servant Tempura; even a mysterious villain named McGuffin – and everyone is looking to leave the past behind. With brilliantly silly lyrics by Christopher Durang and catchy music by Peter Melnick, Adrift In Macao reminds us that sometimes laughter can, in fact, be the best escape of all.


Whilst satirising film noir, the play also lampoons Hollywood's ridiculously hokum view of the "Mysterious East", particularly through the character of Tempura, played with energy and wit by Adrian Ng, who insists he is, in fact, "very scrutable". Rye Bautista plays the opium-addicted Corinna with relish, channelling several Hollywood starlets at once and twitching and mugging to hilarious effect. Sam Craig as Rick is just the right side of seedy to still nevertheless remain somewhat attractive to the opposite sex, whilst Marek Steenkamp plays the hard put-upon, world-weary Mitch with a satirical glint in his eye. But Izzy Trujillo Jose is undoubtedly the star, channelling Joan Crawford's occasionally brittle exterior and brutal honesty, whilst putting in most of the legwork when it comes to the singing (and what a voice she can muster), done alongside a full band, discreetly placed at the back of the stage. The whole cast was strong and engaging, carrying on a solid performance without missing a beat; minor roles covered by Joe (Ivan Idzik) and Daisy (Annabelle Leung) completed the fun medley of this show led by director Lucas Cox.


The plot itself is paper thin and can be summed up in a sentence or two, centring as it does on a distinctly non-urgent search for a man named McGuffin, an allusion to the conceits of Hitchcock movies perhaps (who was hardly known as an auteur of film noir). Given the limited size of the stage, it was perhaps ambitious to attempt so many song and dance numbers, but to its credit, the production is self-referential enough to generally turn this handicap into an opportunity for a few laughs ("See you around, I hope", says the leering man to Laureena soon after she steps off the boat in Macao in the opening number. "Well, it's a small cast", she shrugs). 


Some of the jokes are inspired, some are just plain silly, but all-in-all, Adrift in Macao offers a damn good time, with the cast vamping and camping it up with sufficient panache to ensure that even those jokes that occasionally miss the mark are delivered with enough panache to paper over them. Go see this play for some light fun, and you'll be humming the tune to Ticky Ticky Tocky Bangkok all the way home.


Adrift in Macau runs from Oct 2 through Oct 6 at McAulay Studio, 2 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai. Tickets are available at Ticketflap. 

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 2.0


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