"delightful event in china town"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 31/10/13

Almost an annual tradition. For three years these delightful short plays have been presented by the Yellow Earth Company. They are held in the upstairs room of the The New World Chinese Restaurant in London for several nights during one week in October and then go on a national tour.

The Yellow Earth company has been in operation since 1995 to showcase work devised and produced by British East Asian actors, writers and directors.

The evening at the New World consists of a meal of Dim Sum and Green tea with a readily available bar for alcoholic beverages. Then the plays begin – there are five at a time – short pieces written by British East Asian playwrights and performed by members of the community.

The first play ‘Butterfly’s Wedding’ by Jeremy Tiang and directed by David Lee-Jones stars Tina Chiang as Butterfly – who appeared last year as a waitress who told us the amusing story of her life and acted as MC throughout the show. This year Butterfly is getting married and she appears in a wedding dress and floods of tears having been left at the altar. Tina Chiang is an actress of great comedy talent and after her own story, she continues to introduce the rest of the pieces. Some of them are quite moving and she is able to banish any residual sadness with her bright smile and cheerful persona.

‘How Not to Please Your Mother’ is a sweet piece about a young girl who is put down constantly by her racist snob of a mother – who tells her she has to marry the right person – preferablyChinese with a respectable income and influential family. ‘Not black’ she says ‘Black and Asian together produce weird babies’ and certainly she must never marry anyone creative like a writer or an actor. We find that there is a sad story behind the lady’s prejudices

‘F Cup’ is written by Gabby Wong who also plays the main role. Here is a man and wife situation with a man who has been playing around and ignoring his wife and she is fed up with it.

The ‘Salt Monkey; by Sherry Shihui is probably the most Asian of the pieces and explores the attitudes of the older generation. It is directed by Matthew Gould

In the final play ‘The Flash’ Victoria Shepherd has built on the characters of last year and carried them to another level. Again a restaurant scene with a pretty girl and her ‘date’ a conceited noisy business man played by Ashley Alymann. She has a choking fit and is rescued by a strange young man who seems vaguely familiar. This dreamlike situation is beautifully played by Kristina Lao and Stephen Hoo and it rounds off the evening with a play that really touches the heart.

These little plays all have something to say and - with the exception of Salt Monkey – they do not necessarily apply to East Asians but are plays about life that could happen with any culture and in any country.

The plays going on tour will be "Butterfly's Wedding", “The Outsider” "The Flash", "Automat" and a local writer piece from Manchester, "Arachnophobia". The tour is the next two weeks and the cast is Stephen Hoo, Kristina Lao, Ashley Alymann and Tina Chiang.

This is a good evening of entertainment with dim sum food thrown in for good measure.

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