Much more than brilliant comedy
By Irene Bell
It’s not every play that will have you laughing through tears. It’s not every play that will make you want to express your eternal gratitude for your mother, your sister, your best friend – no matter your cultural background. And it’s not every play that will inspire genuine empathy for the many hardworking immigrant families we call our neighbours. Single Asian Female, written by Michelle Law and directed by Claire Christian, will inspire all this as well as entertain the hell out of you.
Single Asian Female follows the lives three women: a newly single mother and owner of the Golden Phoenix restaurant (Pearl), a twenty-something violinist figuring out work-life balance (Zoe) and a seventeen-year-old girl who just wants to be like the other kids at school (Mei). Together, these characters’ stories explore family and cultural identity and well as express what it is to be proud of your heritage. Regardless of whether you are single, Asian or not, you absolutely must go along to appreciate the writing, stagecraft and performances that will have you in fits of laughter.
Michelle Law’s writing is both entertaining and pivotal to theatre today. This production is more than comedy, it’s a snapshot of migrant life in Australia and that’s important to see. Hsiao-Ling Tang (Pearl), Jing Xuan Chan (Zoe) and Courtney Stewart (Mei) act their roles with such chemistry and ease – watching them is endlessly captivating.
Moe Assaad’s set and costumes are standout features – with the doll’s-house like restaurant and apartment straight from any little girl’s dreams – allowing us to see these women in multiple parts of the house at once.
Shout outs must be given to Emily Burton’s enthralling performance as Katie, to Burton and Tatum Mottin’s date montage (a little too realistic and horrifyingly relatable) and to Patrick Jhanur’s performance as the hunky Paul which will make you want to secretly binge on rom-coms.
Single Asian Female has been showered with praise since its 2017 Sydney debut and now Melbourne audiences no longer need to wait to see this brilliant production. There’s not much else to say except for, go and see this show!
Single Asian Female is playing at Arts Centre Melbourne until 21 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office on 03 9281 8000.