Sunday, October 2, 2011

REVIEW: 13 by Theatre Noir

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre, Friday September 30

The Theatre Noir's production of 13, a Broadway musical by Jason Robert Brown, was a mixed bag of stones, some precious and some semi-precious. The one thing that made this show worked however, was that these stones were polished to sparkle and shine.

13 is about Evan Goldman preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. As if going through puberty is not enough hassle, his parents divorced and he moved from his hometown New York City to Appleton, Indiana. Aside from adapting to the new environment, he has to strategize his way into the hip circle to have a successful Bar Mitzvah. In his desire to be somebody to everybody, he risks becoming nobody to the people who really matters.

The 13 performers sang and acted like 13 years old kids trying to sing and act like 13 years old kids. Dominant Ho as Evan was admirable for the amount of work he put in for this title role. Unfortunately, his whiny nasal singing voice was a huge disadvantage. Rebecca Leung as the bad girl Lucy was the best in class with the perfect balance of superb acting, singing and dancing. Herbert Cheng as the disabled Archie had every movement and phrasing down to a T which made his performance seemed less natural and spontaneous. Having said that, I did enjoy his singing and do look forward to see how this conscientious actor develops. Nicole Ng as the down-to-earth Patrice was just right for the role.

The star of the show, however, was William Yip and his production team. The set, costume, lighting and choreography provided the much needed polish that made the show a good one. The amount of discipline instilled by the director and shown by the performers was astonishing and inspiring. It is in small actions such as moving stools between scenes that one can see the amount of details and works the production aspired for and achieved.

A Broadway Musical - Hong Kong Premiere
Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn
September 30 - October 2: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Studio Theatre (English Version)
October 7 - 9: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Jockey Club Auditorium (Cantonese Version)

Creative Team:
Director: William Yip
Choreographer: Peter Lawrence
Set and Costume Design: Cheung Sze Kan
Lighting Design: Leo Siu
Sound Design: Matthew Ma

Cast includes:
Dominant Ho: Evan
Nicole Ng: Patrice
Herbert Cheng: Archie
Rebecca Leung: Lucy
Canais Chow: Brett
Rachelle Ng: Kendra
Rod Ho: Eddie
Kevin Kan: Malcolm
Isaac Chan: Simon
Jolene Pong: Richie
Melissa White: Molly
Elian Mary Suarez: Cassie
Kristina Keung: Charlotte

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