A reviews round-up for A Playlist for the Revolution at the Bush Theatre in London.
Starring Liam Lau-Fernandez, Zak Shukor and Mei Mei Macleod, A Playlist for the Revolution is written by AJ Yi and directed by Emily Ling Williams.
The wider creative team includes Dramaturg Deirdre O’Halloran, Lighting and Video Designer Gillian Tan, Production Manager Ian Taylor for eStage, Sound Designer Jamie Ye, Casting Jatinder Chera, Assistant Stage Manager Jess Senanayake, Company Stage Manager Katie Bingham, Costume Supervisor Leo Tyler, Designer Liam Bunster, Composer Nicola T. Chang, Movement Director Sarita Piotrowski.
The play is set against the backdrop of the largest demonstrations in Hong Kong’s history, and is an explosive, moving drama centred on Jonathan, who is pretty sure his life will look just like his father’s: a good job, a family, and firmly settled in Hong Kong; and Chloe, who is about to start university in England, and is ready to be the Asian Elle Woods! Through months of sharing messages, music reccs and late-night confessions, they both get swept up in the promise of how someone unexpected can change your world. What they don’t realise is that the world around them is about to change forever.
A Playlist for the Revolution is playing at the Bush Theatre until 5 August 2023.
Read reviews from the Guardian, Times and more, with further reviews to follow.
A Playlist For The Revolution reviews
"A radical rom-com with a twist"
"It’s in the tradition of fizzy-girl-shakes-up-staid-boy rom-coms. They’ll get there in the end, if each can learn from the other. Ah, except the pleasure of Yi’s play is that it toys with the rules it appears to know well."
"If the trick of a rom-com is to find a barrier to the lovers being together, setting it amid a time of unrest works a charm."
"Macleod makes a striking debut as a young woman whose youthful certainties are both galvanising and limiting. Lau-Fernandez is a real find as Jonathan: he finds all the fun in his initial stiffness but never caricatures."
"A Playlist for the Revolution doesn’t rubbish romantic ideals, but it does test them. It ends up giving you what you want in a way you didn’t expect."
"Hong Kong romcom turns serious"
"Set against a backdrop of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, AJ Yi’s thought-provoking and zingy culture-clash comedy contrasts online bedroom activism with the real thing"
"There are some joyful dance scenes and winning comedy in this play, but the romcom vibe fades as the protests bear down on Jonathan."
"Emily Ling Williams directs with zest and Liam Bunster’s island-like stage design is wonderful. The actors create a strong chemistry and Yi is evidently a talented writer, both in the comic dialogue and the smoothness of the play’s gear changes."
"The play soars until a final scene which wraps it all up too schematically, with a real-life funeral after the imagined one of the opening."
"A sweet international love story morphs into a hard-hitting drama about the Hong Kong protests"
"As the pair, Mei Mei Macleod and Liam Lau-Fernandez channel all the eagerness of new connection into their performances; they have a natural chemistry and their excited spark crackles. But, though this formative long-distance relationship is tantalising to watch, it is just the beginning of AJ Yi’s hugely ambitious drama."
"Though some of the scenes go round in circles, Ling’s play deals with mighty themes."
"Williams makes the final image of the play a stark one. Real footage from the Hong Kong demonstrations is projected onto the theatre’s back wall. It is a reminder that though this is drama, this is a striking story birthed from Hong Kong’s reality."
"Huge political themes roll through A Playlist for the Revolution too, another new play with a tight personal focus and a wide reach. In AJ Yi’s clever, mischievous political romcom, two students bump into each other at a Hong Kong party."
"These plot developments are fairly schematic. But the play has tremendous zest and wit, tackles urgent issues nimbly, and skilfully poses weighty questions about protest, democracy and individual action."
"Emily Ling Williams’s sprightly production pulsates with music — with songs of protest, revolution and resistance. Lau-Fernandez and Macleod are instantly relatable and immensely sympathetic, building a warm rapport with the audience, while Shukor provides a wry, dry counterbalance."