Good Enough Mix

By Kevin Ma

How would Bruce Lee cook peanut chicken with 'an economy of motion'? Why is Yo Ma Ma -- the brother of world renowned cellist, Yo Yo Ma -- so pissed off? What do they serve at action film director John Woo's Chinese New Year family dinner? If you're genuinely interested in knowing the answer, you probably won't like the show Chunky Groovy Clay Pot Squid Added (You probably won't get the title either).

Constantly reminding us that they are the world's only Asian-American (AA) skit comedy group, these 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors from San Francisco have exhausted virtually everything in the comic repertoire to put together an evening of comedy skits that even the creators of New York's famed Saturday Night Live might be proud of. They tackle issues from racial stereotype (like an Asian-American child prodigy who is great at calculus but terrible at baseball) and cultural dislocation (like how to survive the first meeting between your westernized Japanese-American girlfriend and your traditional Japanese family members), to humour with a broader appeal (such as trying ever-so-hard to stay on a diet by not going near that delicious doughnut).

The group even throw in an occasional brand of surreal humour (like the one-minute long belly-drumming contest accompanied by a guitar). It's bold, poignant and above all, darn funny with capital 'F'. Oh sure there is mention of the 'F' word as well as the 'M-F' word here and there, but they fit in nicely enough with the whole package, only prudes would be seriously offended.

The humours is at times too culturally specific for every audience member to appreciate, but there is a good enough mix to keep everybody laughing from time to time. The play provided good ensemble acting, everyone had a chance to strut their stuff. For example, the piece titled Dr. Bruce and Associates Healty Hard Body Clinic (the one with the steroid-using, gold-medal winning Chinese women swim team). This demonstrated comic timing and ensemble acting of a high order. A word of caution to the 18. Issues such as cultural identity and dislocation can become outdated and redundant in a hurry. Start looking ahead while you are still hot. Create more scenarios of and about the future. Take us beyond 'what is' and into 'what could be.'

[ From the January 22, 1996 issue of Fringe Cats: A review broadsheet for the Hong Kong Fringe Festival '96 ]