Thursday, 11 October 2007

Typhoon Live - Oval House Theatre

Getting Married by Yi Kang-baek, Dogs by Elangovan
Oval House Theatre: Tue 9 -13th Oct
directed by Philippe Cherbonnier/Kwong Loke
Reviewed by Francesca Elliott

The Oval House Theatre is home this week to Yellow Earth’s ‘Typhoon Live’ tour, a double-bill of East Asian comedies performed in English for the first time.

The two plays, both 45 minutes long, are performed by the same pair of actors and are about as different from each other as you can get. The first, ‘Getting Married’ is a ‘surreal South Korean fable’ about a young con man trying to trick a woman into marrying him.

The main protagonist is an amazingly camp Jamie Zubairi, who manages to borrow a large mansion and servant for an hour in order to woo a blind date. He says he is waiting for a woman, but his mincing round the stage implies otherwise. There is some interaction with the audience as he waits, and we warm to his character as he exchanges friendly banter about cigarettes and clothes.

Getting married is effectively a one man show, despite the presence of Liz Sutherland who plays his prospective wife, and Andy Cheung, who plays the silent menacing servant lurking in the background. It was a pleasant enough hour.

‘Dogs’ on the other hand, was far more exciting. A bickering couple driving home in the rain are trying to get back to their dog Singar. Liz Sutherland is great as the foul mouthed spoilt wife who detests her husband and is obsessed with her dog. Jamie Zubairi is also good as her downtrodden spouse (not in any way camp), who resents her dog on epic levels, mostly resulting from such lines as “Singar licks me better then you do.” The constant fighting gets slightly wearing, and I’m surprised that Sutherland wasn’t thrown screaming from the car, which is what I would have done had I been trapped in a confined space with her. ‘Dogs’ is quite an intense, dark play, yet highly entertaining and would be worth seeing on its own, but the lighter ‘Getting Married’, does provide a welcome contrast.
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