By Tara Ramsay
It was an extremely hot and humid night for the opening of ‘Single Asian Female’ at La Boite in Brisbane and thank god for air conditioning because performance wise, there were firecrackers going off left, right and centre!
Single Asian Female originally debuted at La Boite in 2017 and after a successful run it’s now back, with writer Michelle Law stepping into the role of Zoe Wong.
Director Claire Christian brings to life this hilarious, heart-warming story that follow’s the Wong family, who are all dealing with significant challenges that life can throw at you, whilst also dealing with what it means to be an Asian woman in Australia.
Pearl Wong (Hsiao-Ling Tang) is a force to be reckoned with and opens the show on a table in her Chinese restraunt singing ‘I will survive’ which immediately had us clapping along and falling in love with every bit of Pearl’s character, she only wants the best for her daughters, especially after splitting with her cheating husband.
The youngest daughter Mei (Courtney Stewart) is trying to find her place in the world and after being teased at school about being Asian we see Mai in her bedroom with her best friend Katie (Emily Burton) throwing out what she thinks makes her Asian, a few soft toys and a pink puffer vest, with an all too relevant reference to Marie Kondo when she ‘thanks the vest for its service’ before turfing it out, the audience was in stiches.
The oldest daughter Zoe (Michelle Law) is struggling to catch a break. I loved the dating scene where we get a quick look at some of Zoe’s (racist) suitors, there was clever use of lighting as Emily Burton and Tatum Mottin stood in the audience taking on multiple characters, these are two talented ladies and I am sure I missed some moments trying to get my breath back after laughing too hard, we are also introduced to Paul (Patrick Jhanur) and we are thrust in the middle of their super awkward but uplifting exchange.
There were epic and slapstick fight scenes between the Wong sisters that were so craftily choreographed by NJ Price that I was sure I was going to see blood, it gave me flashbacks of me and my own sister fighting in our younger years.
The set design was simple, open and inviting and even had a few audience members sitting on the tables in the family owned Chinese restaurant. I really did feel like a spectator at the restaurant at times and even had moments of wondering when my meal would be coming out.
With all it’s hilarity writer Michelle Law certainly didn’t shy away from issues of racism and gender and they were important undertones throughout the whole show. Characters that are usually considered a minority are shoved into the spotlight, and I would love to see more of it.
Oh, and there is karaoke, and every member of this cast CAN sing!
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.