"Yellow Earth bring rep back."
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 27/10/09

Yellow Earth are presenting two modern and fascinating plays on tour this Autumn, utilising a talented a versatile Rep cast of actors and an ingenious yet simple design. Boom, the first of the two productions to open at the Greenwich Theatre this week, directed by Yellow Earth Co-Artistic Director Philippe Charbonnier, takes the audience into the heart of Modern Singapore and the struggle between a Mother and her son, the past and the future and, even, the living and the dead..

A chorus line of estate agents grasping clipboards storm the stage. We are on the "cusp" they tell us of a beautiful and bright future. They tell us they aren't selling property, no, they are selling us a lifestyle.

The set provides a strong opening gambit presenting us with the stark contrast between two Singapores: the seemingly haphazard and jaunty structure created by the bamboo poles to the cool, clean, perpendicular metal cylinders. A juxtaposition which is only heightened by a beautiful, yet functional, lighting design from Douglas Kuhrt who effortlessly brings out the inherent warmth of home and the corporate sheen and cool.

Stories of personal heritage verses the ever-turning wheels of progress are quite commonplace but what makes this charming production stand out from the crowd is the surreal comic touches. A government worker, tasked with relocating graveyards to save space and free up prime development land, has an unexpected talent and his subsequent conversations with the dead provided much of the humour in this fast-paced piece.

While there were imperfections in the work, the sheer ambition of Yellow Earth to create two shows with only a very limited rehearsal period and the same cast has to be admired. While some of the more potentially luscious surreal elements may be slightly over-explained and the conclusion is too coincidental to be believable this piece has the potential, with its warmness of heart and modern feel, to appeal to all ages.

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