THE Hongkong Repertory Theatre's new season kicks off tonight at the Cultural Centre Grand Theatre with Shakespeare's towering tragedy King Lear. It's a great choice - but is it merely out of deference to the Bard that only this one play will be done in both Cantonese and Putonghua by the Rep during 1993-94? With reports from the mainland that female infanticide continues to be the final solution for many who cannot come to terms with China's one-child policy and that women are still regarded as chattels despite a serious imbalance in the sexes, it's tempting to think that the Rep is honouring King Lear because of its theme. True, Regan and Goneril are the pits, but Lear's youngest offspring, Cordelia, makes up for them - a truly shining example of daughterly love and devotion. Award-winning Chinese actor Hu Qingshu is playing the title role in the Putonghua version (May 16, 20 and 23 at 7.30pm) and Ho Wai-lung will lead the cast in the Cantonese performances (including matinees on May 22 and 23). King Lear has been translated by the Rep's artistic director Daniel Yang. A scene-by-scene synopsis in English will be available. THREE passionate women also figure in Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana, being presented by the American Community Theatre at the Arts Centre's Shouson Theatre from Thursday to May 29. There's Maxine, the man-hungry widow, Charlotte, the young sexpot and Hannah, the sensitive itinerant artist. Binding them is the object of their desires - the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon, the defrocked priest who craves booze and women. Set in a ramshackle Mexican hotel in the 40s, this steamy, disturbing piece stars Doug Baker, Sarah Smith and - making her Hongkong debut - Christie Webb-Gibson. The director is Anita Szabo. ''A BIZARRE antidote to today's truculent society,'' said The New York Post. ''A surreal unhinged quality that makes for comic greatness,'' said The Guardian. The crits were directed at Hongkong Fringe Festival favourite Chris Lynam, who returns to the Fringe Club stage tonight with his new musical comedy Up the Creek. Partnering Lynam in his inimitable brand of humour is fellow Briton, singer-actress Kate McKenzie who is best known in the UK for her live work with Denise Black and the Kray Sisters and for her role in television's The Singing Detective. ''Their music is delicious, their comedy dangerous and exciting,'' notes the Fringe. Shame it's only on for one night. THE Academy for Performing Arts gets into its inter-disciplinary act from May 19 to 22 with a revival of Looking for Rainbow. Adapted by Colin George, departing head of English Drama, the show comprises four medieval plays performed at the northern English town of Wakefield in the 15th century. Old and New Testaments, comedy and drama, song and dance - all combine past and present to vibrant effect and it's all in Cantonese, thanks to translator Jane Lai. Music and lyrics are by Hugh Trethowan, stage movement is by head of Modern Dance, Tom Brown, and sets, costumes, lighting and sound come courtesy of the APA's Technical Arts School. Otherwise, the credits belong to the School of Drama which will be taking Looking for Rainbow on tour to the United States next month.