Review: The Gang of Five (La Mama)25 February 2021
Just two days before Melbourne’s snap five-day lockdown, I had the privilege of attending a live play at La Mama Theatre in the heart of Abbotsford. Noel Fidge’s The Gang of Five is a two-act musical and is delivered with great energy by the five members of the cast.
Set in a wealthy suburb of Melbourne, the play is a story of secrets that have been kept hidden for too long.
Chen Ting (Yu Lin) is a student who has been sent from China to live with her uncle, Chen Fu (Raymond Khong) while she studies commerce at Melbourne University. To her family, she’s a model student with a clearly defined future in the world of business. However, inner conflict and hidden ambitions complicate her life. Inevitably she must reveal her secret, but when and how to do this causes her great anxiety.
Chen Fu is a prominent art dealer who lives with his devoted wife, Song Mie-Lien (Cindy Liu). Their wealth and success masks some long-standing secrets that threaten to surface as the play progresses. Will their lives be plunged into disarray when these skeletons emerge from the closet?
A guest staying with this artistic family, Xiao Jun (Po Goh) is a remarkably talented pianist who has played before audiences throughout Europe and New York. His former energy and success is now weighed down by an enduring difficulty that he keeps to himself. Will he find a way to unearth this secret and continue on his path of success?
Huang Chung (Maurice Wan) frequently visits Chen Fu to discuss art. He’s a civil engineer engaged in projects between China and Melbourne. He too is tormented by a secret that he can’t keep hidden for much longer.
The lives of all five characters intertwine in a way that ultimately compels them to reveal their secrets to each other. The journey they travel through this riveting play is punctuated by skilful singing performances by all.
Po Goh’s piano performances are worth the price of admission in themselves.
The Gang of Five is only showing until Sunday 28th February, so get to La Mama and see it while you can. If you miss this one, check out what else is on at La Mama by visiting their website.