Writers: Mary Cooper and MW Sun
Director: David K S Tse
Reviewer: Harriet Mallion
Tucked away in private dining area in the Yang Sing restaurant in Manchester’s vibrant Chinatown you’ll find an intimate temporary theatre dedicated to telling rarely heard stories of migration, and the challenges faced by crossing borders and cultural boundaries in search of a place to call home. The production is delivered alongside a two course evening meal, and draws heavily on the important role that home-cooked food plays in our lives, inspiring memories of family, honour and duty.
Crossing three generations From Shore to Shore stitches together compelling stories of hardship, loss and fear. Yet the piece manages to remain optimistic and utterly full of love and hope. Cheung Wing, played by Jackie Lam and David K S Tse, recalls fleeing Japanese soldiers during the Second World War and the impact that this singular event had on shaping his life’s journey.
Writers MW Sun and Mary Cooper have delicately created a powerful piece of marginal theatre which explores the difficulties people face when relocating to a different culture. The production is performed in a mixture of English, Mandarin and Cantonese fashioning a dynamic script which flows seamlessly and is perfectly accessible While remaining gracefully poetic.
From Shore to Shore pays particular attention to the role of the matriarch in Chinese society, exploring the ways in which mothers, grandmothers, and even daughters nurture and shape our sense of ‘home’ and the importance of upholding cultural traditions. Dandan Liu delivers an excellent performance as Yi Di, a successful young woman who struggled with cultural differences when she moved to the UK and is determined that her son should not feel the same sense of being an outsider when he visits China.
From Shore to Shore celebrates multicultural theatre, weaving together stories collected from Chinese people from Leeds and West Yorkshire. Throughout the production each cast member steps between multiple characters with clarity and precision, even in a limited performance space. The use of simple but distinctive props and costumes leads to some incredibly effective scenes and themes, watch out for the revolving world created with a tabletop.
Despite touching upon some hard emotional content the tone of From Shore to Shore remains incredibly positive. Yvonne Wan’s character Mei Lan is haunted by a shadow of family addiction and domestic abuse but her eagerness to immerse herself in new cultures helps to break down barriers. Proving that although a person can have many places where they belong, your home will have its place anywhere you feel kinship and family.
Runs until 20th May 2017 | Image: Contributed