I ME SHE HIM - Review

I ME SHE HIM - Review

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Posted 2023-11-24 by Jenfollow

Wed 22 Nov 2023 - Sat 25 Nov 2023

Image - Wit Incorporated

Wit Incorporated are the first theatre company to produce an English translation of renowned American-born Taiwanese playwright and director Stan Lai's I ME SHE HIM . This complex story is now playing at Bluestone Church Arts Space , 8A Hyde Street, Footscray, with performances only until Sat 25 Nov 2023 . Do note an Auslan-interpreted show and relaxed performance will be held on Sat 25 Nov at 3pm. When booking tickets be sure to note your access requirements at checkout. The play will then move to The Bowery Theatre, 33 Princess St, St Albans, Fri 1 Dec to Sat 2 Dec 2023 at 7.30pm. Find tickets for the Bluestone Church Arts Space here , and tickets for The Bowery Theatre here. This two hour showtime includes a 15 min interval. Content Warning - Coarse language, abortion, self-harm, adult themes, sensitive political topics.

Images this and below © Sarah Clarke Photography

Making her directorial debut, Ren Ruidi has taken on a huge task for her first foray in executing a complex story of past and present, and younger selves that others cannot see. The story is set in Hong Kong 1999 where Jing, a slick Taiwanese executive, and CEO More are meeting to discuss a merger between their companies. On the way to these negotiations, both are confronted by strangers who speak of the passion of their younger selves long forgotten and now belong to a painful past. The strangers wanting to find each other, force these high rollers to confront the threads of their forgotten history, unravelling truths that cannot be undone. Amidst this forgotten love, interwoven is the history and political situation between Taiwan and China. According to Production Manager and star of the play Lansy Feng, “As the current war between Russia and Ukraine gets worse, the tension between China and Taiwan is increasing, making this play a more pertinent offering in our arts landscape.”


The stage is initially simply set, but over the course of the play, full size beds, conference room long tables are constructed, long benches and tables and chairs take on a life representing an aircraft, the hotel room, the train, and a very clever interpretation of elevators. As the story unfolds in the first half of the play, we find More quite the wheeler and dealer, with disregard for his underlings, and more than interested in the opposite sex even though he appears married. He works out he must truly be stressed with work if he's seeing a whole being that no one else sees. One that is surprised he goes unrecognised, even though he displays all the words and actions of More's youth. Equally, Jing gets a visit from a stranger who appears to have the same name as her, but is more matter of fact in her approach to this sudden appearance. It does however confuse the service staff for both parties, on the train, the plane and in the hotel room. This is where most of the comedy happens with very humorous exchange of words between staff and the protagonists.

I ME SHE HIM is fun, light, and comedic, and ticks along at a good galloping pace filled with considered dialogue for audience reaction in the first half; and there were giggles a plenty. The supporting cast gets the best comedic lines and situations, and it's this comedy that balances the heaviness of the political subject matter it touches upon lightly. It establishes the characters and gist of the story. Because the first part of the play was so engaging and funny, it left the second half for dust in a way, and the story seemed to suffer a bit of a disconnect that may have left some a little perplexed as to what the conclusion was, as the rest of the story seemed to have been packed and concluded quite hurriedly. As light as the comedy was and brought forth laughter, the depth of the serious subject matter (abortion and lost love) didn't go to its deepest crevices emotionally. The chemistry that existed in their youth, between the grown-up protagonists was amiss, which made the performance suffer a little, and didn't tug at the heartstrings. Overall still an engaging play that's fun to experience, and personally, I look forward to more Anglo-Asian representation on stage.

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271241 - 2023-11-23 15:06:58

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