Old master of laughs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 November, 1994, 12:00am

THIS is not the first adaptation of the popular Old Master Q and Dai Fan-shu comic strip. But this on-stage version by playwright Cheung Tat-ming, film director Clifton Ko and Chung Ying Theatre is probably the best yet.

By breathing life into this much-loved Hong Kong comic, the audience is invited to the chaotic and hilarious world created in the 60s by cartoonist Wong Chak.

The first laugh comes when the two protagonists, Old Master Q and Dai Fan-shu, literally hop on stage. The costumes make the characters look the same as they appeared in the comic.

The acting is at times mo lei tau, but not over the top. Alan Wong and Lee Chun-chow put on fine performances as the Chinese Laurel and Hardy double act, though Lee as Dai Fan-shu steals the show as 'WoWo Cop' in Act Two.

Chan Suk-yi is convincing both as the evil Mr Kam and, later in Act Two, the benign Mr Chun. It is also lots of fun watching Chris Kung, who plays Mr Miserable, and Chan Shui-yu as the lovely Miss Chan, Old Master Q's sweetheart.

Music director and composer Harry Wong dishes up some memorable numbers as well as a mish-mash of not-so-original tunes. But who cares, the music blends in extremely well with the light atmosphere and choreography. Though those in their 20s or older will probably have a greater appreciation of the Old Master Q humour, the simple storyline and above-average acting should keep everyone happy. The good news is that this family production it will be back in December at Christmas.