What do contemporary Hong Kong and 1960's Manchester have in common? Oppressive family values and social prejudice against unmarried teenage mothers and minorities, according to a group of drama students at Li Po Chun United World College. The students will perform a new version of Shelagh Delaney's classic A Taste of Honey at the Fringe Club later this month. The new version tells the story of a schoolgirl Jo who lives with her hard-drinking mother in an impoverished Hong Kong tenement. She falls for an Indian sailor and becomes pregnant. Jo, confused and isolated when the sailor leaves her, finds comfort in her friendship with Geoff, a young man who is afraid to come out as gay. Can the two lost souls find happiness? Changing the play's location from Manchester, a city in the UK, to Hong Kong allowed the students to explore the intricacies of drama as well as venture into areas of the city that they, as international students, normally wouldn't visit. 'The Hong Kong we portray in this play is different from the Hong Kong we interact with on a daily basis. For example, we can go to Mongkok but we don't actually go up to the houses,' said Jing Xu, a 16-year-old student from Sweden who will play the character Jo. 'You go to Tsim Sha Tsui and you can be amazed by the Hong Kong scenery, which is partly modern and western. But it is still just one side of this complex city.' One of the many things that the students have learnt about is the lives of local lower-class people. As research, the students went to old districts such as in Wan Chai, and talked to social workers who work with people whose houses are going to be torn down soon. 'It is really different from what we expected,' said Laura Yakas, a 17-year-old student from New Zealand and a co-director of the play. 'In the original plan, the setting was going to be one of those public housing units with the big iron gates and a shabby bathroom. But when we dug deeper, we found it is not actually the lowest of the low ... there are poorer places,' said Yakas. And the more the students researched, the more problems they encountered with adapting the play due to cultural and environmental differences. Many changes have been made, but the students said the spirit of the play remains intact. 'If it is a gasworks, you imagine something stinky and noisy. We tried to think of something here that can realistically match that feeling ... and we came up with the wet market,' said 19-year-old Eugene Lai Yu-chun, a Hong Kong student who will play Geoff and do sound design for the production. But despite all the differences, there is one thing that is universal - the noble human effort of finding hope amid life's ruins. 'For me it is a sweet-and-sour story,' said Maayan Sanderovich, co-director and 16-year-old student from Israel. 'Because of Jo's character and the way she is, it [life] is not that bad. She doesn't give up. She still has a strong sense of self and tries to rebuild her life.' A Taste of Honey will run at the Fringe Club from April 14 to 16 at 7.45pm. Call 31 288 288 for reservations.