Tag Archives: Yuyu Wang



The Tower Theatre



The Tower Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd November 2018


“staging makes inventive use of the emblematic, central table while creative lighting enhances dramatic moments”


Weaving through six generations over 115 years, ‘Table’ follows the Best family’s journey from the end of the 19th century to the present day. The solid, polished table, crafted by David Best in Lichfield in 1898, travels with them through two world wars, to a missionary post in Tanganyika in the 1950s, back to a sixties commune in Herefordshire and, finally, to south London; it plays a part in birth, death, games, discussions and decisions, and is witness to the thousands of meals which have brought everyone together, its scars a cryptic memoir. The central figure is Gideon, born illegitimately in Africa to a missionary nun, and briefly brought up there, then in a hippie commune, but his alternative past leaves an indelible mark and he eventually abandons his own wife and son. Tanya Ronder’s sharp, touching dialogue knits non-linear scenes together to draw us into their history on a very personal level, sympathising and empathising with the many engaging characters.

Director, Simona Hughes, achieves a sense of fluidity as the different eras superimpose, using hymns, African folk tunes and children’s songs (Music – Colin Guthrie) to link the changes of time and place. Her staging makes inventive use of the emblematic, central table while creative lighting (Alan Wilkinson) enhances dramatic moments and colours tableaux. Philip Ley’s set design highlights the epochs with simple variations of tablecloths and crockery and the costumes (Anna Pearshouse) are aptly descriptive, if somewhat patchy for the hippie commune.

The cast of nine double and triple up on the 23 roles with accomplished clarity. In particular, Dickon Farmar as Gideon takes us movingly through the agony of his childhood and Rebecca Allan’s Sarah, Gideon’s mother, slowly transforms from innocence to disillusionment. Kayne McCutcheon gives excellent interpretations of Gideon’s son, Anthony, weighed down with the anxiety of growing up with an absent father, and of Finlay, his great-grandfather who, tormented by the war, punishes his nearest and dearest. Su-Lin (Yuyu Wang) is a breath of fresh air and hope as the final tensions rise, but it is Nicholas Cannon as Albert, Sarah’s twin, who truly moves us as he paints a painfully distressing contrast to his bubbly nature as a child and is left by both his sister and his mother to care for his disabled father, unable to express his own desires in the repressive fifties.

Tower Theatre Company offers an enjoyable evening of fine acting, if sometimes slightly slack in pace, with some self-contained fragments of drama but not one culminating point to shape the play. Not often seen in the theatre, it is a wide-angled slice of history. Without sending out a powerful message, ‘Table’ strikes a poignant note about the emotional baggage we inherit and how, unconsciously, we pass that on.


Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington

Photography by Robert Piwko


The Tower Theatre


The Tower Theatre until 1st December


Previously reviewed at this venue:
To Kill a Mockingbird | ★★★½ | October 2018
The Seagull | ★★★ | November 2018


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Review of The Invisible – 3.5 Stars


The Invisible

Blue Elephant Theatre

Reviewed – 1st December 2017

★★★ ½


“intensely emotional and personal, achieving a rare feeling of intimacy between audience and performer”



Cheeky Chin’s latest production, The Invisible, is a raw, heart-felt one act play that delves into feelings of loneliness and isolation. Written and performed by Yuyu Wang, the show is an extremely personal and intimate one woman, one act play. Documenting the life of ‘The Invisible Character’, it follows her move from China to England, and explores the emotional effect this can have on a person. It incorporates live cameras, video projection, music and movement.

Yuyu Wang took on a huge task in creating the show. The set is incredibly simple, a black box theatre with a giant paper plane on the back wall. The only props are a pile of paper planes, some apples, a projector and a phone. To fill an entire one hour show with just one actress in such a simple setting is extremely challenging, but Wang keeps the audience entertained throughout. She is an incredible actress, her emotion so real and raw.

Some elements of the production are daring, and whilst most of these pay off, some can seem slightly out of place. Sometimes the Invisible Character runs from one side of the stage to the other for minutes on end, and whilst this seems almost mundane to watch, it really helps communicate the feeling of being trapped. It is also a play that is filled with long monologues, which can feel self-indulgent, but certain moments really hit home, especially for those who know the feeling of homesickness and feeling miles away from family and friends.

One particularly resonant scene occurred when the camera was turned on the audience, our image projected on a screen onstage. Suddenly, the play wasn’t just about the character onstage but reflected back onto us, as we were urged to acknowledge each other and treasure every moment we spend with those around us. This was one of many touching moments within the show, helping to create an amazing intimacy between performer and audience.

Overall, The Invisible is a daring piece of theatre, that does succeed in delivering its emotional message, but needs some minor tweaks to improve consistency. It’s intensely emotional and personal, achieving a rare feeling of intimacy between audience and performer.


Reviewed by Charlotte Cox



was at the Blue Elephant Theatre



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