Review-Liars' League-East & West
By: Leeann Bennett
Yet again, fans trekked to Les Boules in Shek Tong Tsui to hear new untold tales for the first time. Seats were plenty and yet somehow it wasn’t enough. People were standing around near the sides and back and even leaning over the stairs to watch and listen with their enthusiasm wetted by the complimentary sangria and nibbles. The setting was informal and the actors, audience, even writers socialized, and had a good time - but once the reading started, there was absorbed silence except for amused giggles and gasps at appropriate moments.
There were eight stories read and, since that is a long time to sit still and focus, these readings were broken up by the musical guest Francesco Teopini whose nimble fingers coaxed beautiful music from his guitar.
Tonight’s theme was East & West and each of the stories gave subtle or not so subtle nods to that elusive point where both meet. My favorite story of the evening was Departures by Liam Hogan read by Alex Milner. It was a relatively simple tale of two travelers who meet and the conversation they have about Mr East’s unusual life journey. I love relatively simple tales that resonate with an intriguing ending. Wanderlust by Zarina Zabrisky was another good story, amusingly written and well read by Lara Genovese.
The best performance of the evening was by Hin Leung who read Blue Lovers by Huang Haisu.This one was about a Texan who falls in love with a scarred and much younger masseuse, the main conflict in the story revolving around stinky foods (think stinky tofu and blue cheese). Hin Leung made a vivid impression on the audience with his theatrical reading.
It’s not to say all the stories were amusing or fun. Handover by Paul Blaney was quite intensely read by Brad Powers and showed maybe the darker side to when east meets west, though the allusion to the theme was subtle.
There were some tales that did not leave an impression, but it’s hard to pinpoint why. Maybe the story was read too fast, maybe the actor’s style didn’t complement the writing or maybe the story itself wasn’t clear. That said, this is an event where new writers get to share their tales and also hone their skills. And really, with eight stories by eight different writers, it’s entirely possible some stories just weren’t to my taste but were well received by others. That’s the beauty of Liars' League; you were bound to find at least one story that you liked and if you didn’t (which seems statistically impossible considering what is on offer), it was free and there was sangria, so shush!
Overall, it was an entertaining evening and the fact that so many people came all the way to Shek Tong Tsui on a Monday evening is testament in and of itself. Whether you are into theatre or literature or just socializing with the artistically inclined expat community, Liars' League is a place where everybody wins. Be sure to catch next month’s reading; the topic is Sink or Swim.
East meets West was a one time performance. Liar's League performs the last Monday of every month. For more information, click here.
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