summer rolls

27 Jun

Summer Rolls SUMMER ROLLS BY TUYEN DO At the Park Theatre. This is the very first British Vietnamese play, and the story culminates in the creation of the very first British Vietnamese restaurant. It is basically the story of Mai { Anna Nguyen)who we meet as a twelve-year-old girl in Epping with her Vietnamese family who have escaped the ravages of their war-devastated country and are settled here in England keeping alive by sewing garments for another Vietnamese Mr Dingh.(David Lee-Jones) She is a second generation immigrant, and the play brings into focus the difficulties of a young person’s dual identity. Her family are old fashioned and want to retain the values of the age. She is a rebel and talks English as much a s possible, even sins by having a British black boyfriend (Keon Martial-Phillip)– upsetting the racial prejudices of the rest of her family. But we discover some British racial prejudice whe her much better-behaved brother,(Michael Phong Le) who has passed his degree first class in Mathematics but, because he looks different, is finding it difficult to get a job. Mr Dinh wants his son to marry Mai – ‘she can have a good life staying at home and cooking for her husband’ but her brotrherd feeds her ambition by buying her a camera. The mother (Linh-Dan Pham)is a powerful woman who sent the boy away when she was heavily pregnant with Mai, and he made his way alone to England. She has made him work at his education and is responsible for th high standing of his degree. The Father (Kwong Loke)has been interrogated and has confessed to something, we do not find out what it is, but this has left him a little mentally deranged, and he walks in his sleep. He spends much of his time, playing cards with Mr Dinhn and drinking Vietnamese liquor. Photography plays a large part in this play. The girl Mai takes pictures – especially of Mr Dinh, when we find out the secrets of his life. She also collects photographs of her family when they were young and shows them to David. Tuyen Do is an actress of the National Theatre. But she too is Vietnamese and knows the situation well. The photography is a strong element in the play. She shows photographs of her mother to her boyfriend. Kristine Landon-Smithj directed the play, and I feel she has a few spatial problems to investigate. The boy and girl Mai and David are completely inaudible and invisible at times because they are lying on the floor. To a lot ofe. Also from left of the auditorium Mr Dinh and Father are invisible as they a replaced too far right for a long time, I remember that sometimes the action is placed on a dais to conquer the problem of lack of visibility. There is a higher place at the back of the set where Mr Dinh delivers secrets s of his past life. It is a shame he is unable to address the audience a little more, but he is stuck up on a narrow platform at the back. Nevertheless, he gives a very effective and sensitive performance. .

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