Entertainment Hive 2020

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land

OzAsia Festival, Dunstan Playhouse until November 10

Review by Honey B

Two very different plays beautifully woven together to create a magical take on love, memory, regret and loss. Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land is two plays that at first glance seem to have other than mistakenly booking the same rehearsal space at the same time. The first play, Secret Love is a romantic tragedy about lovers separated at the time of the Chinese Revolution. In a twist of fate, both Jiang (Fan Kuang-Yao) and his beautiful love, Yun (Chu Jr-Ying) have fled from China to Taiwan. But it’s not until four decades later as Jiang is on his deathbed that they discover they have been living in the same city. The second play is a period costume drama, Peach Blossom Land, and it features a fisherman, Tao (Tang Tsung-Sheng), who is having marital problems with his wife Chun (Chang Pen-Yu). Tao is a fisherman who can’t catch fish and his wife has a wandering eye. Humiliated Tao braves the rapids and ends up in a dream-like land. In alternating scenes the theatre companies take turns in sharing the stage and at one point they are on-stage together in a hilarious and poignant moment. The play interweaves tragedy and comedy along with slapstick and melodrama to great effect and the ensemble cast in this resonating play are pure perfection - none more so than Fan Kuang-Yao as the lovelorn Jiang. While both plays may seem poles apart, when it comes to love and loss it doesn’t matter what format the play takes it’s true that heartbreak is universally bittersweet. The question remains – is it better to remember or forget. One thing is for sure, this play will most certainly be remembered for a very long time.
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