Monday, September 2, 2013

REVIEW: Avenue Q (Q畸大道) by Windmill Grass Theatre (風車草劇團)

Kwai Tsing Theatre, Friday August 23

I had a life-changing (ok, that’s a bit of exaggeration… theatre life-changing then) experience last Friday the 23rd. I went to see the Windmill Grass Theatre (風車草劇團) production of AVENUE Q (Q畸大道) and it totally changed my perception of Cantonese versions of Broadway musicals! I went to this performance purely on the ground that I love this musical and will be totally okay even though it is in Cantonese! My Cantonese is not too bad, but I am also most aware that my Cantonese is not THAT good. I was expecting to be in the theatre watching the musical while simultaneously playing the original Broadway cast recording in my mind… I need not.



This is my third Avenue Q. I saw the Broadway production back in 2004; and saw the Manila (Atlantis) production in 2008. This Hong Kong production directed by方俊杰 , I have to say, equals the Broadway one, if not better!

Overall, I think I only got about 50% of the jokes and yet, I still totally enjoyed it mainly because the production was visually compelling from stage and costume designs down to the acting of the performers. The magic of this production came from its wonderful adaptation from English to Cantonese, be it how the characters behave, and also how the words are translated. Most of the characters took on a distinct Cantonese sense of comedy acting (think Stephen Chow) and a puffed up personality (Kate Monster in this production was more “monster” than other productions).

This production works because it was adapted (by黃詠詩 and 王祖藍) to local sense of wickedness. For songs like “It Sucks to be Me”, it was translated into 最仆街就係我 “I am most deserving to die (drop dead)”. This is so colloquial that it is very difficult to back-translate; but even so, it doesn’t really equate to the English words yet, it captures the emotional core of the condition. Even situations were also adapted, e.g. when one of the characters (Christmas Eve) sang “Tried to work in Korean deli, but I am Japanese” in Broadway, the Cantonese version becomes “I am a Japanese, but I’ve pushed dimsum carts”.

All the actors were in tip-top form. While some has better singing voice than others, all were very fine actors. I particularly like 邵美君’s Kate Monster & Lucy. She brought so much to the characters yet delineated each with clarity and distinction through voice and action.
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風車草劇團 
Q畸大道 (粵語演出)
Avenue Q
MUSIC AND LYRICS By ROBERT LOPEZ and JEFF MARX
BOOK By JEFF WHITTY
BASED ON AN ORIGINAL CONCEPT By ROBERT LOPEZ and JEFF MARX
導演:方俊杰
主要演員:梁祖堯、湯駿業、邵美君、楊詩敏(蝦頭)、劉守正*
其他演員:文瑞興、黃靖程
(*承蒙香港話劇團批准參與是次演出)
翻譯:黃詠詩

填詞:王祖藍
燈光設計:楊子欣
佈景設計:邵偉敏
音響設計:陳詠杰
製作經理:Cat Cheng
執行舞台監督:李藍施
票務:黃詩穎
市場推廣:陸昕
監製:湯駿業、鄧耀銘

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