INVISIBLE MEN 順風.送水 | Hong Kong, Shouson Theatre

Premiering at the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre’s Black Box Theatre in 2015, this revival transfers to the big stage, showcasing a foul-mouthed, unnamed SF courier (Eddy Au Yeung) and water deliverer (Chan Kiu), who get stuck in a lift together. Their working-class roles make them a pair of “invisible men” in Hong Kong society.

With more than a passing similarity to Waiting For Godot, some of the play’s most thrilling moments are in the water deliverer’s unconscious hallucination, with “God” (Ng Ka Leung). Smiling benignly, tossing a shiny red apple around, and utterly useless, it’s an unforgettable interpretation. Things take another demented turn with the arrival of Hatsune Miku (Tunes Ting), a figure that defines the blurring of fantasy and reality.

Director Chan Wing Chuen has a background in Philippe Gaulier, and it shows, with clownish physicality from the very beginning. Happily, the cast are more than up to the task, and, despite the play’s serious message, the comedy is laugh-out-loud.

The unnecessarily morbid ending doesn’t quite match the rest of the play’s tone: it’s far more poignant that these “invisible men” are not dead, but living all around us, unseen. The all-male emphasis also seems misguided when so much of Hong Kong’s working class is female. Nonetheless, a fast-paced and prescient revival.

In Cantonese, with English subtitles, playing 16 – 25 October 2020.

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