Love with No Heading

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2005, 12:00am

Love with No Heading

FM Theatre Power

City Hall Theatre

Reviewed: August 13

For those who may be interested:

All the actors who appear in this production did so for free;

FM Theatre Power, an independent professional theatre company, doesn't make much money, if any;

It specialises in 'people's theatre' and has performed many times in Mong Kok;

The company has recently acquired a rehearsal studio;

And director Banky Yeung Ping-kei wants to make it clear that he didn't lift the wedding scene in Love with No Heading from another production, as he's been accused of doing.

So, there we were, 10 minutes after the performance ended, still stuck inside the auditorium listening to Yeung, a Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts graduate, rattling on about his theatre and himself - which was really too much, especially as we'd already sat through more than two hours of half-baked youth theatre.

Most of the audience, which had an average age of 16 to 17, didn't seem to mind, though, which in itself is telling. Is this the kind of stage show they like, one with no apparent structure, taste or point? Or maybe all of it had washed over my head because I'm not a teenager?

Love with No Heading comprises a series of sketches based on the theme of love. What is love? What is hate? The 20-plus amateur and professional actors then interpreted their ideas of love, infidelity, unrequited love and sex through a series of improvisations - an idea based on playback theatre.

In one scene, one of the actors took off his shirt, approached a female member of the audience who - to everyone's astonishment - slapped him hard across the face. I'm still not sure whether that was for real or not.

The rest of the gags were trite. The 'controversial' wedding scene - in which the actors sang extracts of Cantopop songs to tell the story - was nothing new. Still, the audience laughed.

Unlike Hui Shu-ning and Edward Lam Yik-wah before him, Yeung's brand of youth theatre is (for now, anyway) unsophisticated and, at times, superficially sensational, with swear words thrown in here and there.

Perhaps that's why the young audience found the show funny. If so, I find it seriously worrying.