#BrumHour was invited to the press night of Under the Umbrella by Belgrade Theatre.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Under the Umbrella at Belgrade Theatre
Under the Umbrella is at the B2 Stage in Belgrade Theatre, Coventry until 16th March and is a thoughtful, powerful drama exploring modern chinese family life.
Wei (Mei Mac) has been living as a PhD Medical Student in Coventry for three years and like any single 20 something, sometimes enjoys a drink, late nights and generally exploring the freedom of being away from family and hanging around with her flatmate Lucy (Laura Tipper).
Back home in China, Wei’s Grandmother (Minhee Yeo), has grown tired of Wei’s single life and says at nearly 27 its time for Wei to find a husband/ Wei’s mother Dong (Charlotte Chiew) is sent by Grandmother to a local market and Wei’s CV/Resume and photograph are placed on an open umbrella in the hope of finding a suitor for Wei.
In the meantime Wei’s boss Doctor Zhang (also played by Minhee Yeo) is concerned about Wei’s productivity during her research project.
On the surface Under the Umbrella is a serious, warm, sometimes funny story of three generations of women but beneath that surface lies the serious impacts of one-child policies, gender selection and the desire to leave a family history once you have passed away.
The set is two huge blocks, one creating the stage floor and one creating the back wall, both have circular holes punctured throughout, ideal for shining lights through or placing “trees” as required. With limited furniture on stage we see the changes of scene with lighting and uniformed movement from the performers who also double as their own stage hands.
Mei Mac’s Wei stands out as our everyday young woman who only has a passing interest in love and children and we discover that Lucy has her own problems with her own mother lack of responsibility.
This Belgrade Theatre co-production with Yellow Earth and Tamasha is a brand new story that was very well received by the audience who sat absorbing the tale in front of them. The Chinese cultural based superstitions are explained clearly and from night club scenes to an orchard, this story tries to keep you in reality while it sweeps you along on its journey.
Under the Umbrella is at Belgrade Theatre until 16th March, book tickets here:belgrade.co.uk/event/under-the-umbrella
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham.