Directed by Leigh Silverman, who staged the work on Broadway, “Chinglish” gleams with witty intelligence about the dizzying divide that separates the world’s two economic superpowers.
Charles McNulty – LA Times
Hwang brilliantly blends character, dialogue, and the idea that even when bilingual interpreters are present, translations are fraught with errors and misconceptions, resulting in an often uproarious mangling of both languages. Unlike his characters, Hwang’s text has no weaknesses, the product of a deft writer and observer of human nature working at the top of his game. His tragicomic masterpiece of failed communication captures the complexities of all human relationships.
Eric Marchese – Backstage
Chinglish itself becomes irresistible, given this potent combination of themes and characters who are so far removed from the themes and characters who usually populate our stages. And the staging by Leigh Silverman, who directed it on Broadway and of course at Berkeley, is exceptional.
Don Shirley – LA Stage Times
The production is sharply turned out, light on its feet, with a refreshing pace of forward momentum, especially for a two-act rib-tickler. For a show in which the English supertitles often get the actual laughs, the actors display impeccable timing, a challenge when so much of the discussion consists of mangled translations through intermediaries, or repeated failures to make oneself understood.
Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter
Combining this superb acting along with the fantastic technical aspects of this production (including Leigh Silverman’s fluidic direction, David Korins’ ever-transformable set design, and especially Jeff Sugg and Shawn Duan’s non-intrusive and creatively placed projection design for the English subtitles during the Mandarin dialogue segments), Chinglish is a pleasurable insight into Chinese culture and “mis”-communication.
Peter A. Balaskas – LASplash
This theme isn’t new, either to Hwang or to theater, and those who know the Tony-winning playwright’s work will find much that’s familiar about “Chinglish.” But as usual, the fun lies in the unexpected paths the story takes and in Hwang’s unique sense of humor, which unerringly captures the hilarity that comes from cross-cultural awkwardness and competing motives.
Paul Hodgins – OC Register
Chinglish’s success, in addition to Hwang’s thoughtful and pertinent script and Silverman’s dynamic direction, is in no small part due to the crafty cast of seven actors.
Ben Miles – Showmag
This cross-cultural comedy about a Cleveland businessman trying to resuscitate his sign company by making a deal in China treads familiar ground, but with a fresh and hilarious twist.
Jordan Young – LA Examiner
Sex, corporate intrigue and political conspiracy swirl through director Leigh Silverman’s fast-paced, brilliantly acted production.
Tom Provenzano – LA Weekly
Imagine, then, the exponentially more complicated issues that arise when trying to do business in a foreign country, where not only the language is unfamiliar but also the culture is bewildering. This is the theme of David Henry Hwang’s entertaining and thought-provoking new play Chinglish, which is receiving a first-rate production at South Coast Repertory.
Terry Morgan – LAist
If Chinglish ends up a whole lot funnier (and ultimately more optimistic) than Hwang’s earlier play, it is every bit as fascinating an exploration of East vs. West and just how difficult it is for the twain to ever really meet. Think of it as M. Butterfly for the 21st Century.
Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA
“Chinglish” is one of the most original, and immensely satisfying, plays to come down the pike from Broadway in some time. It’s an exceptionally rich theatergoing experience at South Coast Repertory.
Tom Titus – Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot
As she did with Hwang’s under-appreciated Yellow Face, director Leigh Silverman sounds each comic style Hwang touches – from romantic to political to screwball – while letting the deeper strata resonate. The hilarious mangling of translations can expose problematic cultural perceptions, and one character’s description of her marriage reveals that speaking the same language is no guarantee of good communication.
Cristofer Gross – TheaterTimes
The language and word play lead to relentlessly hilarious dialogue, with three or four conversations happening simultaneously at times. The experience is well worth the drive across the Los Angeles County line into the OC.
Armando Huipe – Playwriting in the City
Still, inconsistencies can be overlooked in a play that mixes entertainment and cultural enlightenment in a clever way. Chinglish has something to say about many things: language, marriage, identity and, most importantly, the elusiveness of truth. For that alone, it’s worth checking out.
Deborah Klugman – ArtsBeatLA
Here’s a Chinese feast that won’t leave you hungry in an hour – but you might still be chuckling.
Ingrid Wilmot – Will Call
Under the assured direction of Leigh Silverman — who also directed the lauded 2011 Broadway production — SCR’s production zips along with vigorous purpose, all while balancing its dramatic moments, its sometimes wicked humor and, dare I say, its bits of geopolitical lessons into one thought-provoking examination of human miscommunication.
Michael L. Quintos – BroadwayWorld
It’s sleekly entertaining, audience-friendly, and pertinent.
Jon Magaril – CurtainUp
South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays,
2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays (Call for exceptions)
Ends Feb. 24, 2013
Tickets: $29-$70; (714) 708-5555
Running time: 2 hours
About the Author: We don’t “review” shows here at the Lemon, rather we "review" reviews by gathering them from a variety of local review sites around the internet, judging them to be positive or negative, then forming an aggregate score that we call a LEMONMETER RATING, showing how well that show has been reviewed in total. For more detail on how the LemonMeter works visit here.