Boom publicity image
Where: Outer London
22 October 2009 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews ‘Home is where the heart is’: this is the nothing-new theme at the core of British East Asian theatre company Yellow Earth’s Boom. With a cast of five, and two intertwined storylines, the play explores what makes home so important, and why we get so emotionally attached to our bricks and mortar. Although, aren't we are all agreed on this already?
The play is set in Singapore in 2008; economic boom has created a need for property that the crowded city cannot provide. A young property developer is trying to convince his mother to leave the tumbledown family home, which is to be redeveloped, and a ghost-whispering civil servant clashes with an uncooperative talking corpse, who is reluctant to conform to plans to relocate his cemetery. The actors slip easily between roles, and between past and present; as performers, they are fluid; their characters’ opinions on their dwellings, however, are not.
The basic tension lies between the march of progress, and the respect for history that resists it; the lure of material gain versus the sticky sentimentalism that rejects all that is new, sparkling and soulless. No surprises there. The characterisation is rather heavy-handed at times: a fig tree in the garden is employed as a stock representation of stability and growth, and there are frequent references to trees as indicators of desirable space; the young, predictably, want things to be shiny and new, and the old want to stay put.
There are touching moments; the great performances from
Jay Oliver Yip and Tina Chiang hammer home the idea of a conflict between a son who wants progress, and a mother who wants what she knows, brought to life through chatty dialogue and tender acknowledgement of human foibles and conflicting personal agendas. The stark set (by again reinforces the blunt dichotomy between past and future, with a humble bamboo structure on one side and the imposing steel beams of advancement on the other. Less convincing is the gently moaning corpse, who sits up, despite being six feet under, to berate the civil servant, as well as some awkward drama school touches in the property development office: stomping round in a circle, perhaps vaguely symbolic of the relentless wheels of progress, but uncomfortable to watch. Wai Yin Kwok)
The importance of home is a universally relevant theme. My problem with this play, ironically, is that it leaves itself with nowhere to go.
- Christina Bracewell
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
: The economic impact of Arts & Culture in the UK Infographic When Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for the arts to make their "economic case" for subsidy, t... Plays Cast: Harry Potter star in Southwark Moment, more for Branagh's Macbeth Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will make her stage d... Brief Encounter with ... The Kite Runner's Ben Turner Ben Turner stars in the stage version of the bestselling book The Kite Runner, which runs at Liverpo... Titus Andronicus (RSC) This latest production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, to borrow from football punditry, is a p... : Britain's outdoor theatres Take Five With half-term approaching, the weather (hopefully) set to improve for the bank holiday weekend and ... West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square next month West End Live, a weekend of free entertainment from top London shows, will return to Trafalgar Squar... : 'I carry the ghost of Gregory Peck on my shoulders' Robert Sean Leonard Actor Robert Sean Leonard is currently playing Atticus Finch in Timothy Sheader's production of To K... To Kill A Mockingbird Twenty years ago, a young Robert Sean Leonard appeared on the London stage with Alan Alda in... X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p...