We all know Hong Kong makes Kung Fu movies, but not stage musicals, surely? Wrong. Curated by Hong Kong composer Leon Ko, the composer of award-winning Cantonese musicals The Good Person of Szechwan (2003), The Passage Beyond (2009), Sing Out (2017), and many others, this beautifully-staged concert revives Hong Kong musical classics from the 1970s to the present day.

The chance to hear these home-grown Cantonese musicals is treat enough, and to hear them fully orchestrated by a gigantic Hong Kong Sinfonietta, conducted by Yip Wing-sie, is a dream come true. It’s unusual to hear a classical ensemble handle swing rhythms so well, as well as managing forays into eighties synths, in addition to the sweeping, string-led pop ballads.

There’s a cast of eight outstanding actor-singers (Pichead Amornsomboon, Joe Wong, Mimi Lo, Jordan Cheng, Margaret Cheung, Rick Lau, Luna Shaw and Luk Ka-ki). Not that it’s a competition between the guys and gals, but the guys win the battle hands down, with strong moves, pitch-perfect vocals, and more than a healthy slice of camp besides.

Usually staged concerts are a rushed affair, but director Fong Chun Kit ensures the visuals are as resplendent as the music, with captivating lighting (Billy Chan) and historic video clips (Lai Ka Ki) that lend an emotional kick. It’s all in Cantonese, of course, with no English subtitles, but it’s just too good to miss.

Playing 9 – 11 October 2020 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

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