Review-Literary Death Match-Hong Kong Stories


By: Cindy Kim

Literary Death Match is quoted by the LA Times to be “…the most entertaining reading series ever.” With a title like “Literary Death Match”, what kind of person wouldn’t enter the room without at least some preconceived notions? I must admit with some embarrassment, I was hoping for more dramatic eliminations. However, what it actually offers is a solid evening’s worth of entertainment, but not much more.

I suspect the marketing and advertising gave me the entirely wrong idea. What really happens is that four authors read their own work in a dramatic reading for 7 minutes or less. No death matches, slam poetry or boxing rings are involved, which I personally think is a great shame.

The mixed media usage of a projection to kick off the show I felt to be of questionable effectiveness. It felt slightly strange, after watching a promotion of a previous Death Match taking place in a literal boxing ring filled with cheers, to be sitting in a room with bare concrete walls.  It was hard not to feel slightly underwhelmed after that point but Adrian Zuniga did an excellent job as the host bringing the energy levels back up and engaging the audience.

Squaring off in round one were Renate Leukert and Peter Humphreys. Renate Leukert started us off with an explanation of why love is really terrible, delivering her lines in such deadpan statements it was hard to determine whether she was ironic or not. We had quite an amusing tale of mistaken identity from Peter Humphrey, resplendent with accents. The second round was between Tom Schmidt and Shannon Young. Tom Schmidt really enhanced his spoken word piece with projected images and his own self-made sound effects. Sharon Young’s anecdote of a childhood pet snake induced both laughter and nausea in the audience, especially when hearing about the fate of the microwaved frozen rats.

The grand finale of the Literary Death Match is traditionally a vaguely literary based game, previous examples being ‘Pin the mustache on Hemingway’ and Pictionary. The final round which would decide the victor between Renate Leukert and Shannon Young was “identify the book based on their one star amazon book reviews”. An excellent way to cap off the evening, with plenty of audience participation. Literary Death Match is definitely worth catching next time but just make sure you know what’s on the program.

Literary Death Match has now closed. For more information, click here.

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


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