Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Now playing over at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage I at City Center is a remarkable tale - the other side of the proverbial coin - a story about the Vietnam War - told through the eyes of young South Vietnamese refugees.  Even during war - love blooms.

Qui Nguyen (playwright) has penned a journey through the crazy 70's and the Vietnam War.  America is the savior - taking in refugees even while racism abounds.  In Mr. Nguyen's eyes, America is far from perfect - and he actually nails the stereotypical types throughout the south and west.  Raymond Lee (Quang) and Jennifer Ikeda (Tong) are are young, spunky, sexy, refugee lovers searching for peace in their new homeland.  John Hoche, the adorable and sexy Paco Tolson, and Samantha Quan (a plethora of characters each) fill in the comedy, friendship, and family from many angles.

A bit too zany at times (it was the 70's after all) and a bit too long and drawn out in others - this play has a future if tightened and given a general tune up.  Several rap numbers fit well in the Asian genre and the lyrics are quite powerful.  Plenty of potty mouth language to go around.  Mr. Lee's sexy physique is a must for this leading man - both shirt on and shirt off.

The story of the actual South Vietnamese is one we Americans rarely consider. What were they fighting for?  Who were they?   Why did America help and why did it fail?   Not all of these questions get answered in the play but the last 10 minutes of the play will bring the entire piece to a crescendo close.