I Love You, You Are Perfect, Now Change!

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2006, 12:00am

Windmill Grass Theatre

Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Reviewed: April 22

Voted one of last year's 10 most popular stage productions at the Hong Kong Drama Awards last week, this adaptation of the long-running off-Broadway musical (by lyricist Joe DiPietro and composer Jimmy Roberts) is an ambitious choice for this relatively young theatre company.

Founded in 2003 by Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts graduates Shaw Mei-kwan, Joey Leung Cho-yiu and Edmond Tong Chun-yip, Windmill Grass Theatre targets the twenty-something theatre-going crowd.

The two-act musical comedy is made up of 18 short scenes (each featuring one catchy number) about sex, dating, marriage and infidelity. The four actors - Shaw, Leung, Tong and Yeung Sze-man (right with Tong) - take on the lives of more than 20 characters as they face the trials and tribulations of dealing with the opposite sex.

The first act is about them being single; the rest is mainly about the joys and sorrows of being married, then becoming old - and single once more.

The two-hour performance, which also featured Charles Lau Yu-hin on piano and violinist Yanice Tsang, got off to a promising start, with the four actors showing off their vocal strength. The prologue raised a few giggles from the audience when the cast donned plastic body-suits that exaggerated their biological differences.

But as they moved into the married stage, the young actors' lack of life experience began to show. In a scene in which a dysfunctional family goes on an outing, Shaw as the manic mother of two teenagers was over the top, and Tong's bullied husband failed to show the inner turmoil of a middle-aged man searching for his youth with a sports car.

With the exception of Shaw (who, at least, sounded like an elderly woman in the final scene), the characters portrayed were unconvincing. But this shortcoming was partly compensated by Chan Chu-hei's creative direction and Wong Cho-lam's lyrics.