Review- Life. in Hong Kong- We Draman Theatre


By: Justine Denning


Mime. What thoughts crop into your mind? A strange French clown with a white painted face and a lipstick smile? A cartoon-esque cartoon of buffoonery and nuisance? As these images spring into your head,  I would like us to focus on the key elements that mime will always include: control, story-telling and imagination. Prepare yourself to have your previous expectations revived. 


Life. In Hong Kong which runs until the 8th of August, includes all of these three criteria's. This delightful show aims to update mime and reintroduce it to the modern Hong Kong audience. The production includes cast members; Ronald Lam, Fannie Shum, Lam Tze Yuen, Bon Tong, Ivy Lam and Yiyi Zhao. It was the responsibility of the ensemble performers to be in charge of the first two of the above criteria: control and story-telling. Audience are entrusted with the third: imagination. 


In Life. In Hong Kong we enter to a plain environment, some simple white backdrops, and an expectant atmosphere. From the moment the production begins, the audience must engage our imagination and watch as the six strong performers begin. 


Can there be a story in mime? Can you be enthralled by a nearly silent production for little over an hour and a half? Absolutely. Life. In Hong Kong is an extremely strong production in many elements, as it seeks to bring humor and realness to (as the title suggests) Life. in Hong Kong. This show is not only relatable to locals but to expats as well, and the lack of a spoken language means it is highly accessible to all. 


I was delighted by the progression of the events. The show begins in a dream like state, including nightmares,  dreams of success and beautifully choreographed dance sequences. This mystical beginning will leave you momentarily confused, until the alarm bells ring that is. As the performers begin to wake up, you will too. Your clogs will start to click, the familiar sequences you see in your own daily life will cause you to laugh, be surprised by their precision and even ultimately-rather emotional.  


As this production relies heavily on its sequence of events, I am reluctant to give too much of it away. I do promise that the tigress Hong Kong boss played by Ivy Lam will have you in stitches, as well as the reaction of her employees to her almighty presence. It is a sequence which will be all too familiar to those who work in the offices in Hong Kong. While some performances will bring humor to the table, others-specifically the real estate agent played by Bong Tong will move you to tears.  


The credit here truly belongs to the cast. The construction of the sequences is extremely well done and I believe the director-Tang Wai Kit should be extremely proud of his revival of the mime art form. The actors helped bring his vision to life and worked together flawlessly, effortlessly and the effects will have you reminiscing  on the journey home. You'll question why you found it relatable, whether you are comfortable with this or not. You'll promise yourself to break the mold and change your routine, you'll wonder why you have become so dependent on your phone, possibly even whilst still checking it. 


This is the brilliance in the story-telling element of Life. In Hong Kong. The control that the performers hold is possibly due to the four months they spent practicing together, with solo pieces requiring further rehearsal. 


A note worth mentioning is the superb lighting and sound. It was a necessary component of the production and  was absolutely spot on. The simple uses of sound in interpreting the daily life of Hong Kong was so varied and intricate, that it added the finishing touches to the production. 


Overall, I was delightfully surprised by this small but excellent production. If you have a spare evening in the coming week or so, it should be spent watching this performance. I guarantee you will leave with a new found respect for mime. 


Life in Hong Kong is playing through August 8th at WeDraman. For more information, click here.


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hongkong, theatre, review

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 5.0


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