A banquet of modern art is being served up at the China Arts Festival in Hangzhou. On offer are treats from the Chinese mainland, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas. One sure way to tickle your theatrical palate is with "Sweet and Sour Hong Kong," an original musical telling the life of ordinary people in the harbor city.
"Sweet and Sour Hong Kong" is a joint production of the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and Hong Kong Dance Company. Two restaurants -- "Fuji" and "New Pizza" -- provide the setting for tales of the lives of ordinary people. "Fuji" is a traditional Chinese noodle shop. Bad management is contributing to its decline. The pizza shop represents the new and upcoming business-management methods. As the competition intensifies, a romance develops between Fuji's young boss and New Pizza's savvy owner.
Established in 1977, the Repertory Theatre is the oldest and largest professional drama group in Hong Kong. The musical has attracted many award-winning actors and actresses, including the noted composer Joseph Ko and lyricist James Wong. And the Cantonese-Mandarin performance has been specially created for Chinese mainland audiences.
After all the twists and turns comes the happy ending. Everybody is grateful to taste the sweet after so much sour -- and bitterness. As more musicals from outside find their way onto mainland stages, artists here are continuing to develop their own. "Sweet and Sour Hong Kong" can give them some food for thought.
(CCTV.com September 14, 2004)