Tag Archives: Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts

Wicked @ Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts review

wicked-hong-kong

It’s been a while since I got goosebumps in the theatre… So enter Jacqueline Hughes as Elphaba in Wicked to deliver a whole year’s worth of them in one night.

It’s over a decade since Wicked, the smash hit musical based on a novel reimagining the events of The Wizard of Oz, first debuted on Broadway – which of course, means it’s only now arriving in Hong Kong for the first time. It tells the story of how Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West became well, wicked and it’s probably not much of a spoiler to say she wasn’t really that wicked at all… just you know, misunderstood, except with green skin (actually created using MAC eyeshadow, fact fans).

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Singin’ In The Rain @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

Singin In The Rain Hong Kong

You know a musical is made out of special stuff when it turns a source of misery – namely, a thundering relentless downpour – into something of total undiluted delight.

Singin’ In The Rain is one of my favourite films, let alone musicals, of all time, and it’s with some trepidation that I approach any stage adaptation of MGM’s glorious Gene Kelly vehicle. So I’m happy to report that Lunchbox Productions’ version of the Chichester Theatre revival, which plays in Hong Kong until 25 October 2015, is a dazzling shot of endorphins straight to the heart.

Singin In The Rain HK

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La Soirée @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

La Soiree David O'Mer Bath Boy

I sit typing this review slumped in bed… and if it’s a good day, slumped in bed is exactly where I’ll stay!

However, a night at La Soirée – the Olivier award-winning, Edinburgh Fringe alumni of a show that’s in Hong Kong for just eight performances – was a reminder of just how amazing the human body can be… you know, when it’s not slumped in bed watching old episodes of The Apprentice and stuffing Oreos into its mouth.

A raucous blend of circus and cabaret, the show features around a dozen acts all with different specialities, from comedy to contortionism and just about everything in-between – with the overall effect being something like the Royal Variety Show as presided over by Graham Norton (now there’s a TV show idea!).

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The Sound Of Music @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

the sound of music hong kong

The hills are alive…!

When it comes to the opening lyrics of musical numbers, I’m not sure there are any quite as stirring as those of The Sound Of Music. Come on, you’re singing it already aren’t you?

Landing in Hong Kong for a month-long run, Lunchbox Productions’ version of The Sound Of Music is a pretty faithful retelling of the Rodgers-Hammerstein stage musical turned Julie Andrews-starring movie classic. However, it’s worth remembering that this is a staging of the original theatre script (specifically Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s 2006 revival where the role of Maria was cast on a BBC TV reality show) and not the movie – although it has been rejigged to include two numbers written especially for the film, I Have Confidence and Something Good. In comparison to the nearly three-hour long film, the script’s pacing does feel a little uneven – dragging when it comes to the songs by Max and The Countess that were excised from the movie, rushed when it comes to the speedy second act where love, marriage, Nazis and the Von Trapps’ escape are all dealt with in swift and rather abrupt fashion.

the sound of music hong kong Carmen Pretorius

Nevertheless, Carmen Pretorius makes for a fantastic Maria; in the wrong hands, this character can easily become a saccharine-sweet goody-two-shoes but Pretorius brings a warmth, fun and sense of mischief to the part – and all with the most beautiful voice that rings through the Lyric Theatre as clear and perfect as the bells at Maria’s abbey. I was less convinced by Mark Rayment’s Captain Von Trapp – he felt a little bland and unyieldingly stiff to me and I didn’t detect much chemistry between the two leads either.

But the children, a rotating cast selected from local schools, more than make up for it. They’re uniformly excellent, executing the musical’s sharp choreography and layered harmonies flawlessly, and making complicated numbers like So Long Farewell, The Lonely Goatherd and show highlight Do-Re-Mi an absolute joy. I also enjoyed Hugh Osbourne as wily music impresario Max Detweiler; providing the show’s more humorous moments, he manages to convey the character’s spineless scheming nature whilst remaining likeable too.

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Showstopper! The Improvised Musical @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

showstopper the improvised musical hong kong

If you like laughing and you like musicals (in which case, hey, we should be friends!), then you need to go see Showstopper! The Improvised Musical stat.

Much like a round of Catchphrase, it’s pretty much say what you see regarding the show’s premise – a whole new musical improvised every night based on suggestions from the audience, encompassing everything from the setting, title and plot to musical theatre genres and song styles. Think Whose Line Is It Anyway meets one of those Andrew Lloyd Webber reality TV competitions and you’re almost there… except even funnier.

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Tap Dogs @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

tap dogs hong kong

Call it a childhood spent watching far too many MGM musicals, but the sound of tap dancing does something strange to me inside. No, not that kind of strange (get your minds out the gutter, people!), but there’s just something somehow stirring about the pitter-patter of tap shoes that I just can’t get enough of.

Well, there are pitter-patters in abundance at Tap Dogs, the award-winning show by Australian choreographer Dein Perry, which has been going strong for 20 years and has now arrived at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. Except forget “pitter-patters” and think more “bloody massive stomps”, because this is tap dancing with the testosterone factor.

tap dogs hk

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Starlight Express @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

starlight express hong kong

Sick of pedestrian productions ruling the roost in Hong Kong? Well, how about a musical where the entire 30-strong cast spends the whole duration of the show on roller skates?

Yes, Starlight Express has sped its way into the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts – and if you’ve never seen Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most innovative musical before, you’re in for one hell of a ride.

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