Passion On The Night Tube by Tony Tang
What Is It? Passion On The Night Tube is a one-man, semi-autobiographical show that blends together original music and stroytelling by Tony Tang.
What Is It About? The play takes place in the early hours on the 24-hour Jubliee Line, Passion (Jimmy Wong) is a fabulous gay Chinese man who has found himself homeless spending the weekend on the night tube. He shares his story about how he ended up in this peculiar situation. We are told and experience Passion’s life through his eyes, the hardships of not fitting in with his inherited culture and the struggles he faces being part of the Chinese gay scene. We hear his story and meet the people in his life who have affected and him.
How Did It Make Me Feel? The show begins, and we are introduced to the character of Passion, who is joyous, flamboyant and (in his own words) outrageous. With a tiara placed on his head, he tells us his story. He shares the news that the fragile and stupid Jimmy Wong is dead, but Passion sprouted and only exists because of this.
In the hour, the themes of mental health, vulnerability, toxic relationships, self-acceptance and actualisation are woven throughout the piece. We hear about his life at an all-boys Catholic school and his first crush on his teacher Mr Jennings, his struggles with confidence and self-image sharing what his parents had told him his entire life “If you weren’t so fat maybe girls would come for you”, his experience with online dating as an overweight Asian man, the culture clash of being gay with his Chinese heritage and distance it has caused with his family.
The songs that Tang has created for this story are tinged with sadness and even with the joyful pairing of a ukulele, you can still hear pain within his music. The soundtrack plays perfectly with the story of someone who is feeling very lost and very alone.
This play, as profoundly and melancholy as the story is, is hilarious. Tang’s witty and cheeky humour is sprinkled throughout the performance lifting the mood and his improvised comedy with the audience is a joy to watch. Tang animatedly brings to life the variety of different characters who have affected him and through his encounters with these characters you can understand why Passion, the Queen of the Night Tube is created. The ending is ambiguous but has an indication of optimism hinting to the audience that “the only way is up” for Passion.
Tony Tang gives a luminous and endearing performance as Passion and this play is an absolute pleasure as well as heart-wrenching to watch. I hope he continues to perform this piece in the future and is able to take it further.
Anything Else? Passion on the Night Tube is Tony Tang’s first outing as a playwright with VAULT Festival being his first fringe festival.
Passion On The Night Tube by Tony Tang is playing at The Gift Horse @ The Horse & Stables at VAULT Festival until the 2nd February 2020.
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