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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Made in China 2.0 (Malthouse Theatre) - 60 minutes

I am faced with a predicament that I can’t say I have confronted too many times after a few decades of reviewing.

I have just seen a compelling piece of theatre, which I am about to highly recommend, but I will resist going into detail about the plot.

I choose not to do so because of political sensitivities.

Photos by Tamarah Scott

Wang Chong is a passionate experimental theatre director. He founded the Beijing-based Theatre du Reve Experimental and his work has been performed in 20 countries.

Made in China 2.0 is both a deeply personal work and a call to arms. It speaks to how much Wang cares.

In this case, he is the writer and performer (and co-director, alongside Emma Valente), dealing with China’s past, present and future, how life is and has been lived there and expectations.

So, there are both historic and contemporary references.

Made in China 2.0 examines the role of the artist and provocateur in uncertain times.

It unfolds via table and stool, a video camera and a large screen.

It utilises video snippets, sound effects and a fog machine.

Wang even teaches us a smattering of his native tongue to aid our understanding.

The hour-long play is carefully considered, insightful and illuminating.

Wang brings a delicious sense of humour to the offering, along with drama, but above all else, authenticity.

Clearly observant, he speaks about his lived experience.

The consummate professional, he uses technology to positive effect, along with a few props.

He has the audience in the palms of his hands and I – for one – didn’t want to let go.

The standing ovation he received at curtain call on opening night was richly deserved.

Wang Chong is a great communicator. He has an excellent command of English and recognises the impact of language and expression.

The play acknowledges that while there is strength in numbers, power can also wrest with the individual.

Made in China 2.0 is playing at Beckett Theatre, at Malthouse Theatre, until 19th March, 2023. Please see it.


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