Daniel Cavannagh (Gyuri Sarossy) sees an amusing yet somewhat insulting, gap in the Chinese market. Signs saying things such as ‘deformed men’s restroom’ should not be acceptable to the Chinese, and he would like to help them. Sarossy undoubtedly leads the cast, despite being the only cast member who speaks one language throughout.
In a memorable early scene, Daniel Cavannagh’s pitch to the Minister (Lobo Chan) and Vice Minister (Candy Ma), is translated in part by the bilingual ‘consultant’ Peter Timms (Duncan Hart), after Miss Qian (Siu-see Hung) is deemed to be either incompetent, or mischievous. Perhaps surprisingly, nothing is lost through having to read subtitles above the actors throughout a large proportion of the show.
Candy Ma’s portrayal of Xi Yan, the Vice Minister, transforms from a serious, and uninteresting business woman in the early scenes to a hilariously misunderstood and emotionally intelligent woman in act two. She exceeds all expectations which she had previously set up for herself, with her wit and affectionate sharp tongue in her one to one interactions with Sarossy.
The set is nothing if not simple and effective – the back wall made of wooden blocks transformed wonderfully into everything it needed to, leaving the translation errors and miscommunication to be the focal point of the piece.
Overall, David Henry Hwang and Andrew Keats have brought together a thought provoking piece based on a very simple concept, while being laugh-out-loud funny on numerous occasions.
Chinglish plays at the Park Theatre until April 22nd.