Don't Let Go, Chung Ying Theatre Company, Shouson Theatre. FOR one reason or another, a cloud of distrust and uncertainty prevailed towards the end of Chris Johnson's artistic directorship of the Chung Ying Theatre Company, and this was reflected in a lacklustre production in August of Whale. A clown's touch, however, seems to have been exactly what was needed to revitalise the decimated and dispirited company; and the return visit from Britain of professional clown, Gerry Flanagan, as a guest director has indeed worked wonders. Together with the company members, Mr Flanagan has devised a delightful, hilarious mask show, called Don't Let Go! It is essentially a morality play, in which the honesty and hard work of a village community is set against the hypocrisy and corruption ofthe city, with good ultimately triumphing over evil. The performance style is that of the commedia dell'arte, which requires robust and flamboyant characterisations. Masks help in this respect because they prohibit any reliance on facial expression, and force the players to colour their voices and act with their entire bodies, thereby highlighting the supreme importance of actors and their art above any other aspect of theatre. Director Flanagan exploits the commedia style with gusto and the actors revel in the extravagant freedom the style and the masks give them as they work their way towards a denouement in which all the strange characters we have seen turn out to be long-lost relatives. There are two unforgettably brilliant performances: one by the inimitable Lee Chun-chow as Mr Yen, and the other by Suen Wai-fong as a batty bag lady. These two senior members of the company blaze a trail to incredibly high comic standards, which galvanise the rest of the cast to give of their very best. There is a bonus, too, in the casting of Chung Ying's deputy stage manager, Vivian Chan as Penny, Mr Yen's daughter who is ever eager to kiss a man. In her acting debut, Miss Chan has revealed undoubted comic abilities which can only be of benefit to thecompany in future. In keeping with the production style, designer Hella Chan has provided splendidly simple screens to suggest locations. Being easily portable, they enable one scene to follow another without unnecessary pauses. The all-important masks were designed and made by Michael Chase. The only thing that marred this excellent show was the Shouson Theatre management's unforgiveable act of sabotage in turning up the house lights to allow inconsiderate latecomers to find their seats.