Sumo Do, Sumo Don't

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 July, 1997, 12:00am

Sumo Do, Sumo Don't Springtime Production Sha Tin Town Hall, July 27 Children do, children don't - but if they were encouraged to scream en masse in a theatre auditorium simply for effect, you can bet most would, and they did in this hilarious family stage production.

An International Children's Arts Festival 1997 programme, Sumo Do, Sumo Don't is based on the popular Japanese film of the same title written by Masayuki Suo and has been adapted by Springtime Production as a stage musical.

The story revolves around five college students who are either recruited or tricked into joining a sumo wrestling team that is to compete in a major annual sports event.

But the only 'trained' wrestler is Ching Muk (Chan Si-hung) who is a bag of nerves. Other team members Chow Ping (Lo Chi-sun) who plays for a rock band, the nerdy Tien Chung (Hui Ping-hung), Chow's brother Chun Hung (Raymond Law Wai-man) and Mountain (Barry Chan Kam-lung) have never wrestled before.

However, under the leadership of Professor Yuet Shan (played by veteran actor Chung Yat-ming) the team eventually makes it to the league and final heat, but will they be good enough to take on the toughest student team in the finals? And here is the 'climax' that, despite its predictability, sent the young audience squealing with excitement.

Sin Chun-tung was the excellent narrator who warmed the audience to such high spirits.

The adult audience was not left out of the fun either when producer and director Ko Chi-sum came up with a couple of bizarre scenes in which Japanese cult television characters like Ultraman and Godzilla made a guest appearance and brought the house down.

Musically, most of the tunes were based on forgettable Japanese pop songs in the 1980s, while technically, some of the microphones pinned to the actors worked intermittently, which was annoying.

But as far as children's shows go, Sumo Do, Sumo Don't is a smash hit.