★★★★☆ Johanson Productions, Park Theatre
David Henry Hwang returns to the Park Theatre with his European premiere of Chinglish. It explores the contemporary issues of doing business between two different cultures, East and West.
Andrew Keates directs this laugh-out-loud comedy, that starts with Daniel doing a presentation on poorly translated Chinese signs. “To take notice of safe: The slippery are crafty” and “Fuck the certain price of goods” pull the audience in with laughter in the first few seconds of the play.
Daniel, an American, wants to start a business arrangement with China on the behalf of his company ‘Ohio Signage’. When he meets Peter, an English teacher, he employs him as his business consultant.
Peter has lived in China for over a decade and gives Daniel advise on how to close a deal with the Chinese. The one important thing he says, is taking the time and trouble to build a relationship and understand the customs of the Chinese people in order to be successful.
When Daniel meets Xi Yan, the Vice-Minister for Culture, secrets are uncovered and a forbidden relationship begins.
Gyuri Sarossy and Candy Ma are an ideal leading duo who bounce off each other perfectly.
The theme of the play looks at the language barrier between different cultures, as well as how to make business deals. A plethora of funny incidents occur over the duration of the show, which makes it so relatable, we’ve probably all encountered the problem of trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak our language. It also goes deeper – as it seems that everyone has something to hide from each other, and it shows the nature of making business decisions.
The staging is incredibly clever, by using a closet-like backdrop with small doors that open in different sizes and ways -transforming the stage into something completely different for each scene.
Gyuri Sarossy (Daniel) and Candy Ma (Xi Yan) |Richard Davenport for The Other Richard