Writer: Jean Tay
Director: Philippe Cherbonnier
Reviewer: Gareth Ellis
Yellow Earth are a British East Asian theatre company, who mix Western performance styles with stories and themes inspired by the East, and this was done particularly well in Boom. The story follows a young property developer, trying to persuade his mother to move out of the old family apartment and into a new development. Meanwhile, a government worker who can talk to corpses (yes, you read that right) is trying to solve problems of his own.
Boom started with a bang, Cherbonnier’s stylised direction worked well to set up the play and introduce the various characters quickly, and the script made sure that a succession of short, sharp scenes with slick changes kept the audience’s interest. The script was at times very funny with a number of witty one-liners, and a touch of depth was brought with flashbacks, indicated very effectively by Chapman’s music.
At times I felt the fun script was a bit too simple, lacking the mental engagement required to grab an audience and without any major unforeseeable plot twists – except the odd fact that one of the characters can speak to corpses, which was revealed bluntly and did not sit well within the course of the play.
Wai Yin Kwok’s stylised, symbolic set was successful in showing the relationship between new and old, reflecting the story line, and the simplistic lighting worked very well to evoke setting and mood, especially during the flashbacks.
The strength of the small ensemble was evident in bringing the play to life and all suited their roles, but the best performances of the evening were given by Tina Chiang as Mother, who immediately won over the audience with great delivery of lines and facial expressions, and Ashley Alymann in his lively variety of pocket-sized roles.
On the whole, Boom is a warm evening of light entertainment, with a good cast and a clear direction, though at times it could benefit from a few twists, especially towards the end where the play just seemed to arrive without much of a climax at all. If you are looking for an uncomplicated comedy for all ages, then Boom may just be the thing you are looking for.
Boom is currently touring the UK for more info click here