Festival of Fun: five stage shows being put on in Hong Kong
Company behind Singin' in the Rain putting on a musical and four 'stocking fillers' from September to December
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is bringing one full-length musical and four smaller shows to Hong Kong in September and October. That may seem far off, but it's never too early to plan ahead, according to Lunchbox chief executive James Cundall.
"I put Cats on sale in Perth a year in advance last week and it's sold 2,500 seats," says the UK-based impresario. "A lot of people want to be organised and plan their lives; so if they want that, let's help them." The box office is open for all these programmes.
Other than Singin' in the Rain - Lunchbox's second main local presentation for 2015 after the recent The Sound of Music - we can look forward to The Amazing Bubble Man, The Naked Magicians, La Soiree and Beyond the Barricade. Cirque Adrenaline, another family-friendly production, is scheduled for Christmas.
Cundall refers to these smaller shows as "stocking fillers" that complement the big musicals, but are fun in their own right.
"We travel around and we pick up shows along the way," he says, citing artist/children's entertainer Louis Pearl [aka The Amazing Bubble Man] and The Naked Magicians as examples. During a recent visit to Auckland, New Zealand, where Singin' in the Rain was playing, Cundall came across posters of The Naked Magicians everywhere and was told the "cheeky but clever" pair — Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler — was a sold-out double act.
"So we booked them to go on in the evening and The Amazing Bubble Man in the day time," says Cundall, explaining how the productions will run concurrently at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts between September 15 and 20.
It's a perfect arrangement "providing they don't get the wrong time and find themselves on stage together".
Also running at the same time in the Lyric Theatre at the APA is La Soiree, an award-winning show Lunchbox describes as "a heady cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety". It has been staged in major cities such as London, New York and Sydney, and the slightly edited version for Hong Kong will target families as its audience.
Beyond the Barricade, which will be staged at the Lyric Theatre on October 12, features past principal performers from Les Miserables in the West End and on tour, and they will be singing hit songs from other big musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Jersey Boys.
"I went to see them last week — they are touring the UK — and they got a full-house standing ovation," says Cundall. "If you like musicals, this is one night of fun."
Cundall, who founded Lunchbox, says he hopes the upcoming shows offer something for everyone. "I think every society needs entertainment, no matter what [people] are going through, whether they are happy or miserable or somewhere in between. And we focus on the live theatrical side."
The Amazing Bubble Man, The Naked Magicians, La Soiree and Beyond the Barricade, September and October, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Inquiries: 3759 7617