Thespian Thoughts Theatre Review – Chinglish / “Timely and clever”
International relations get strained in this timely story about an American businessman’s efforts to do business in China. His hopes of landing a lucrative contract for his company are challenged by problems with translation and transactions. But his attraction to a Chinese government official might make the trip worthwhile after all.
It’s a promising set up but doesn’t quite deliver as opportunities to push both the comedic and dramatic opportunities further don’t get fully explored.
Xi Yan, Vice Minister of Culture, played by Kara Wang, explains a situation to American businessman Daniel Cavanaugh, played by Matthew Jaeger in East West Players production of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish.
So we’re left with a play that is good yet not great as a result of that confusion over tone.
The best scene comes when the American businessman only wins respect from his hosts after revealing he used to work for scandal hit company Enron. Plus there are some good performances to enjoy, especially from the always entertaining Ewan Chung.
Anyone thinking of doing business in China would be well advised to check out this play first as it cleverly lays out the pitfalls as well as the potential of such an enterprise.
By David Henry Hwang
Presented by East West Players
Performs Wednesdays thru Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 until October 11
At Union Center of the Arts, 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles 90012
Tickets $28-$38 from 213 625 7000 or East West Players
Directed by Jeff Liu
Cast: Ewan Chung, Matthew Jaeger, Leann Lei, Jeff Locker, Ben Wang, Kara Wang, Joy Yao
Thespian Thoughts is a theatre review article on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.