We’re halfway through our marathon and after some pretty intense stuff, I finally caught my first feel good show at the festival.
Don’t be deceived by its title. Hymn of Angelology, which wrapped up its brief two-day run, did not feature any heavenly winged creatures. Instead it’s a quirky, life-affirming look at the bonds of friendship that had me smiling in the end — and someone behind me giggling about 83% of the time (I was at around 68-72%).
Hong Kong’s Muse Motion/Performer Studio show saw choreographer Allen Lam and theatre performer Tony Wong in, ahem, Chang & Eng mode, performing a sequence of scenes exploring the dynamics of relationships through text, dialogue and movement.
Loosely anchored on the two’s autobiographical friendship, it’s more technicolour fun ride than steady road trip, mixing some tender moments with a healthy dose of vaudevillian sensibilities by way of Stephen Chow.
Absurd sequences involving glow-in-the-dark shorts, knee pads and huge helmets; skipping rope; a piece of apple and a suitcase; four white balloons; and a “game show” transform into quirky duets as they move in synchronised, repeated patterns, with the musical score lending the whole show a kind of cinematic feel (an aria here, Jack Johnson there). At some point, they come to the audience and give high fives.
It might sound frivolous, silly or all over the place but it’s not. What holds everything together is the palpable connection between the two performers. Throughout the slapstick, the OTT repartee, there is something truly genuine going on between Lam and Wong, which informs the work’s spirit of adventure and fun. It gets addictive once you go with the flow.
In Hymn of Angelology you will recognise those initial encounters with your best buddies in school (or your first romance) and that powerful, invisible link between people that remains through long distances and time spent apart.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling the urge to look up “Stand By Me” and Kung Fu Hustle.