Citizens of Nowhere? (2019), Sweet Novotel, Review

Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Chinese Arts Now
Ming Ho (Writer); An-Ting Chang (Revival Director)
Pik Sen Lim (Linda Lo); Jennifer Lim (Jane Lo); Jun Chi Lo (Siu Hun Li)
Running time

This is an interesting, intimate look at identity and belonging, focusing on the different perspectives of three members of a British Chinese family. A site-specific piece, it is set in a restaurant, with the audience wearing headsets, as voyeurs of this private family discussion. The audience is also given a drink to take to the table, adding to the immersion of the piece.

The writing – and acting - is naturalistic which frames the setting well; it is entirely believable. There is much humour in this piece, the type of humour that comes from a family who know each other so well that there can be no holds barred on the insults traded. This also lends itself to moments of anger, frustration and sadness, tied to impending family changes.

The discussion on what it means to be British Chinese looks at the perception of others and how this impacts the lives of mother Linda, daughter Jane and son Siu Hun differently: Linda harks back to her land of birth, although she grew up in Britain; Jane is developing her political aspirations and Siu Hun discusses the frustration of typecasting as an actor. There is much more to it than this of course; consideration of what belonging means, what identity means and the connection that experience has in this.

There are elements of the play that seem to fit too neatly, and it could easily be expanded a little, as the overall piece seems to be over too soon. What this means however, is that the audience is left with food for thought, particularly relevant in today’s current climate.

Times: 24-25 Aug @ 2:00pm & 4:00pm