reviewed by Paula Citron
lady in the red dress
fu-GEN Asian-Canadian Theatre Company/Young Centre
Written by David Yee
Directed by Nina Lee Aquino
Starring Laura Miyata, Richard Zeppieri, Stewart Arnott, Nicco Lorenzo Garcia and Ins Choi
At the Young Centre until Feb. 21
Sometimes plays with the very best of intentions go awry. Fu-GEN is Toronto’s top Asian theatre company and their work is always provocative. The subject matter of lady in the red dress is certainly powerful — the Chinese Exclusion Act and the immigration head tax.
Playwright David Yee, unfortunately, has approached his subject from a supernatural viewpoint. The lady in the red dress is a serial killer who has systematically eliminated the enemies of the Chinese — read whites — by murder. There is also a white family with a dark secret.
Yee gets around this fancy with the line “How Dallas!”, referring to the TV series that managed to target one whole season as a dream. The point is, some very good acting gets lost in the unreality of the vengeful lady as metaphor. It also takes Yee a very long time to come to the point.
lady in the red dress continues at the Young Centre until Feb. 21.