Archive for June 1st, 2010

The windy city

June 1, 2010

It’s been getting hotter, wetter, and more humid again in Hong Kong … a sure sign that the typhoon season isn’t too far away. Fingers are crossed for T8s in the morning on week days.

The hockey season has finally finished again – HK organisation being what it is meant that nearly 8 weeks passed between the end of the league season and the cup competition. The 8 week gap had not improved our hockey and we, very disappointingly, went out to a golden goal in extra time having fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in normal time. It’s fair to say I didn’t cover myself in glory picking up my first ever yellow card.

It did mean that last weekend was free from hockey, and I was able to take advantage of this by going to see the musical Chicago at the Lyric Theatre here. I wouldn’t exactly be classed as a regular theatre-goer. Thinking back, the last trip I’d have made to a show would have been Shaolin monks doing martial art type stuff in London well before moving to Hong Kong. Chicago has had quite a lot of publicity, as it’s on tour from London – where it has received good reviews apparently.

Overall it was an enjoyable night, with a few things that just mark it out as Hong Kong. It was a hot and humid night, so the ample opportunity to work up an uncomfortable sweat when walking to the theatre was taken. I still haven’t learnt that the direct path between where I am and where I want to be isn’t necessarily the right route to take, especially with the amount of building work going on meaning roads can be randomly blocked off. Three years and you’d think I’d be aware of this.

Upon arrival in the foyer an announcement is made asking everyone to make their way upstairs as the show was about to begin. This was at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start which seemed odd, as I didn’t imagine we’d be getting trailers for upcoming shows somehow. Arriving at the upstairs section, and enthusiastic usher points us towards the section labelled on the ticket … at which point I’m asked ‘where is my sticker?’. I don’t have a sticker. A company called OOCL have sponsored tonight and have two areas which dominate the upstairs section of the entrance. To be part of this party you need a rather flimsy looking sticker. The woman asking for my sticker doesn’t look too impressed with my answer that I don’t have one and I’m just looking for theatre entrance B. Entrance B is nearby, and very obviously not open.

After standing round looking like a lemon thinking there surely must be somewhere I can get a drink for about 5 minutes, a quick enquiry about drinks to the staff member on the door means she has to ask someone else. Following on from this, someone with a clue points back in the direction where the stairs are. It seems the original usher had been a bit over-zealous, and rather than initially offering directions to the bar thought directions to a closed door far more apt.

With the bar found, a pre-show sparkling wine could be enjoyed before having to move back to the door in order to actually get in. This was yet another bar that used a token system. I’m not convinced of the efficiency of token bars. Particularly when the table to buy tokens from is right next to the bar itself. I’m sure in London upon arrival you’d be directed straight to the bar to be parted from your cash in return for over-priced drinks. Here, sometimes, it can be a battle to buy over-priced drinks.

As I said, I found the show itself to be very enjoyable – it was (presumably) subtitled for the Chinese with electronic displays either side of the stage displaying Cantonese* when the speaking parts were in action. Quite how much a non-English speaker would follow when the songs are sung is debatable as they weren’t subtitled. It must make for quite a strange experience. The seating, like the buses here, aren’t designed for Westerners. It’s not even as though I have long legs, but legroom was definitely at a premium, and it was a bit of a squeeze when people had to move through.

There was the expected glow from mobile phones dotted throughout the audience, but as far as I was aware there wasn’t a mobile phone ring during the performance. There was, unfortunately, an annoying child who must have been about 6 years old though in the row behind. I’m not entirely sure what the parents were thinking about bringing a 6 year old to Chicago. It’s not as though the storyline is exactly aimed for that age group, and when he starts fidgeting and whining he’s just upsetting everyone else nearby. Besides, considering the show started at 8:00pm (and finished at 10:30pm), shouldn’t he have been in bed by then? This is what people have live-in maids for in Hong Kong …

I think the biggest surprise of the night though was at the end when they announced the cast and that it was Craig McLachlan playing Billy Flynn, or rather it was ‘Henry from Neighbours’. When it was announced it was definitely an ‘oh yeah, of course!’ moment, and felt as though I should have realised that beforehand. Still, at least I have the excuse I’m not Australian, so could be sort of expected not to know that … unlike who I was with!

* Could have been Mandarin … let’s face it after three years and no knowledge whatsoever of Cantonese, I’m not going to be able to read the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese either.