Clever ideas thin on the ground

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 August, 1996, 12:00am

In 1970s Hong Kong, the variety show seemed the way to go for popular entertainment. The television show Enjoy Yourself Tonight achieved mass ratings with its winning combination of modern dance and Canto-pop, spiced with stand-up routines, sit-coms and general nonsense.

In the 90s, things are more subversive.

Zuni Icosahedron's gay and lesbian revue, Good Evening Comrades, is enough to strike terror and disdain in the hearts of conservatives in the territory.

That aside, the idea of grouping 11 gay and lesbian directors and associated performers in an open show can either be read as a demonstration of comradeship and solidarity, or, in the worst reading, a kind of 'ghetto-isation' of an already marginalised community.

Working to a tight format of 10 minutes for each segment demanded focus and discipline. Sadly, clever ideas were thin on the ground and mostly the components were solipsistic and indulgent. The multi-faceted Kary Kwok hosted the evening in platforms, black and white long check gloves and a beehive.

Death of the Crap Writer featured a video which was largely a parody of the movie Chungking Express.

Paragraphs of text were projected with a speed that denied the viewer the chance to read their content.

The infatuation of schoolboys on a basketball court was dealt with through a story about a 'nerdy' teenager.

Sexual frustration was shown through suggestive gestures, and chewing on an apple, or posing under a strobe light and throwing one's body in abandonment to Cyndi Lauper. Let this be a lesson to all sexually-confused boys and girls.

Chan Fai-Hung's witty piece stood out with re-enactments of 70s' television archetypes by the girl in a shimmering orange dress, complete with Chanel bag.

Nothing ground-breaking, but perhaps something very basic like a song or two might end up being the most radical gesture.

Good Evening Comrades - Mission Implausible, Zuni Iconsahedron, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, August 4