PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2009, 12:00am


Tang Contemporary Art

Reviewed: Feb 7

Here is an unusual piece of theatre that doesn't actually take place inside a theatre. Instead, the audience arrives at Tang Contemporary Art and is invited to first look at William Lim's latest solo installation exhibition, entitled Illegal Structure. In his artist statement, the local architect says the outer appearance of a structure should always convey through to the inside, which is known in his trade as 'honest architecture'. 'But what if the inside and outside doesn't correlate', he asks.

His musing about the similarities between buildings and people as well as theme of honesty may or may not have anything to do with British playwright/director/actor Tim Crouch's England, but the exhibition - especially the mirror tunnel that bridges the two acts - does add an interesting twist to this site-specific drama.

Written by Crouch and co-directed by Karl James and A. Smith, it explores the value of art, love and life. Told by two voices - that of Crouch and performer Hannah Ringham - the story is about someone's search for a new heart.

The protagonist (whose gender is not specified) is dying of some heart disease and a transplant operation is arranged. In the second part of the play, the grateful patient finally meets the wife of the donor, only to find out the devastating truth behind how the organ was acquired.

The play is also peppered with references about the art world, as the protagonist's lover is an art dealer.

What makes England so gripping is the performers' powerful delivery of the fragmented yet compelling narrative, which takes the audience on an imaginary trans-continental journey.

The complexity of the multi-layer narrative intrigues rather than confuses and keeps the audience guessing what will happen next. The build up to the climax is enhanced by Dan Jones' intensive sound score.

Crouch (above left) and Ringham (right) make use of the gallery space, moving around the room while talking to the audience, as if to tell the story from different perspectives.

Crouch's writing has great emotional depth, which comes through effectively in the performance and his observations on the contemporary art market are full of humour and wit.

Until Fri. There is a meet-the-artist session after tonight's performance. HK$240 Urbtix. Inquiries: 2824 2430