Olivia Xing: Party School 2.5** - One4Review
one4review | On 05, Aug 2023
Ms Xing is a non-native speaker of English, and though there are some good comedy bones in this show, they were a little obscured – for me as a native speaker – by the non-native prosody and intonation. Any deserved laughter seemed delayed due to our parsing the grammar and phrasing, and rhetorical and non-rhetorical questions were delivered with the same tone, causing a little confusion over which we should respond to. I felt a little bit like I was listening in translation. Add in a very loose narrative structure, the ‘good’ story saved to the end not really delivering, and Ms Xing’s occasionally extensive search for the correct words, and the sum total meant losing the flow of the show in various places.
The show begins with a relatively long off-stage intro, during which you get a sense of how much concentration you’re going to need to parse the show. When you get in to the show proper, Olivia has interesting and amusing things to say about democracy in America and in China, about racism, the vagaries of transliteration, and about how she would like to change things about how China is governed. She talks to the audience a little, but most interaction is mostly reserved for people who are also Chinese, and doesn’t last particularly long.
As mentioned, there are some good, well written comedy elements, but you have to work a little harder to find them. Ms Xing is a bouncy and enthusiastic performer who clearly has good comedic sensibilities – but they’re a little lost in the performance and delivery of this show.
Reviewed by Laura
Just The Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre
Until 27th (not 14th)