xCook Your Life & Mechat

Dates and Venue 3 - 26 Sep | Gateway Theatre, Richmond

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This double bill Cook Your Life and MeChat are two comedic solo shows created, produced, directed and performed by MayMay Chan (Cook Your Life), and Eric Tang (MeChat) received a warm reception on opening night last September 17th. The only problem I felt was the shows should have been presented separately because they were long. Each one was almost an hour and a half long, so that combining both shows comes up with almost three hours. Or what could have been done was edit the show giving each performer 45 minutes each instead of 1.5 hrs

Cook Your Life is a multisensory ‘4-D show’ about a woman who cooks (4D in the sense that we smell her cooking and we're given given samples of her food). The food, fried minced pork, was quite spicy because her partner’s loved spicy food. She narrates her sadness because her lover left her, and as she cooks live on stage while interacting with the audience, she makes funny and insightful analogies between food and love, inviting us to taste the emotion in her food, referring to the spicy food as an expression of life's pains and bitterness. In her case, it's her breakup from her lover. However, she digresses a bit by talking about her girlfriends who each has a personality different from the other. This part should have been edited, as it digresses from the main issue, and she should have instead continued cooking and giving the audience more samples.

MeChat explores the delightful and not so delightful aspects of the Internet and our increasing reliance on technology.  Eric Tang gives different sketches, from online romance, cyber sex, selfie-mania, Groupons, and every aspect of online social media and culture. Very innovative, but again, for a one-man show, this could have been edited to 45 minutes. Some scenes, particularly his conversations with Siri, the female talking computer, started getting redundant.

The shows were in Cantonese, and the surtitles in English weren't accurate. I noticed the Chinese audience laughing, but the translation wasn't funny and the non-Chinese were wondering what was funny. So a lot was lost in translation for the non-Cantonese viewers. Also, there was a lot of improvisation in the Cook Your Life which wasn't included in the surtitles and lost again by the non-Chinese viewers.

© 2015 Ed Farolan