YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN | Hong Kong, HKAPA, Drama Theatre

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Based on Charles M. Schulz iconic comic strip about Snoopy and the “Peanuts” gang, this 1967 musical revue created by Clark Gesner and the original company has won a slew of awards over the years, including a successful run on Broadway. This is just a graduate showcase for the School of Drama Bachelor of Fine Arts students, but boy, you’d never know it: it plays like a professional version.

Despite the quintessentially American trappings with Thanksgiving and little league baseball, it is amazing how this musical takes on new meaning in Hong Kong. With a new Cantonese translation (Wong Cho-lam, Li Wing-hong), there are lots of fun updates like a reference to “Baby Shark” instead of “Frère Jacques”. Even accidentally, in Cantonese, Snoopy’s imaginary fight against “The Red Baron” takes on connotations of the fight against a “red” communist regime. But really, the central themes of school-bred anxiety in children, and “Give me a child till he’s seven, and I will show you the man”, are universal.

Though ostensibly a cast of “actors who sing”, as opposed to musical theatre students, the quality of the vocal ensemble, not to mention electrifying choreography (Tony Wong), is already professional standard.

The cartoon, cardboard-cutout set (Siu Jiou) is a huge part of the action, with a row of portholes serving as everything from traffic lights to Charlie Brown’s (Kwong Oon-hin) anxiety, shown through massive eyes shifting left and right. Get a ticket to the next graduate showcase; you might just be seeing the stars of tomorrow.

Follow the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts online.

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MATCHES 球賽 | Hong Kong, Cultural Centre (online)

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Y-Space’s innovative sport dance show, “Matches”, was scheduled to take over the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from April to December 2020, but the live performance was still impossible due to the pandemic. Fortunately for us, this coliseum-like, game-influenced dance piece is now available to stream online as a “Director’s Edition”.

In order to let audiences have a more comprehensive, deeper experience with “Matches”, the Director’s Edition retains the superb performances of the performers, with a clearer concept and a more intense atmosphere. Those who have watched the show already will be able to recall the impact of “Matches”; while newcomers have a brand new chance to experience it.

Y-Space was founded in 1995 by Victor Choi-wo Ma and Mandy Ming-yin Yim in Hong Kong, with the mission of exploring the infinite possibilities of dance, and searching for new dance idioms and new artistic directions. Now in its 18th year, Y-Space has become an important arts group on the Hong Kong contemporary dance through creating new work, promoting dance and providing training, education and research work through activities conducted at community level and at the Y-Space Dance Studio.

As for the show itself: “The game is fair,” they say. Rules are written; the game is changing. Who will win? Who will lose? And, at the end; who decides?

Available for online streaming until 1 March 2021.

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COMPANY | Hong Kong, Sha Tin Town Hall

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Sondheim’s groundbreaking 1970 musical comedy is coming to Hong Kong in a brand new Cantonese translation by Jacob Yu and Wong Ming Lok. The musical revolves around Bobby, a single man who is unable to commit fully to a steady relationship — let alone marriage. The five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends, all come together in a celebration for Bobby’s 35th birthday.

As well as the main translator, Jacob Yu also directs and produces, and set designs too. Stoa Lau is the Music Director and Sound Designer, with lighting by Ivan Chen and costumes by Shybil Yuen, in addition to choreography by Nikki Ng. The cast includes: Amanda Lee, Peco Chui, Andrew Cheung, Beilosi Fung, Margaret Cheung, Sung Boon Ho, Lan Chun Chun, Tunes Ting, SiuLung Wong, Joanna Ko, Billy Yip, Vivian Chan, Tony Li, Terrence Leung.

The original Broadway production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards, and won Best Musical. Many of the songs have passed into musical theatre legend, including: “Being Alive”; “Side By Side” and “You Could Drive A Person Crazy”. The current gender-flipped production in London’s West End is also nominated for many awards.

Don’t miss the chance to experience this hilarious, punchy musical about love and relationships in Cantonese.

Book online at Urbtix until 24 February 2019. Check out Theatre Space’s Facebook page for more information.

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