Secret Theatre is back with Project Mayhem – and Hong Kong wants more!
Attention Space Monkeys! The popular immersive theatre company “Secret Theatre” have returned to Hong Kong for their third year, and they are back, with Project Mayhem.
They are half way through their run, having begun on November 3rd and finishing Dec 10th. Though reviews from the media are sparse, this has not stopped Hong Kongers, who have bared witness to the Mayhem, from taking to Time Out Hong Kong’s review section and sharing their love for the show!
The User’s say: 5 Stars
Fans of Secret Theatre returned and loved the show:
Some loved it after taking a while to find it…it is “secret theatre” after all!
Secret Theatre is the brain child of Richard Crawford and he is certainly one of the pioneers of Immersive Theatre. Daring to produce shows that many would think would be impossible to execute. Project Mayhem: Hong Kong, taking place over 3 floors, is no exception.
Born in Scotland and living in London and New York, Crawford is a graduate of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. His experience as an actor and working in traditional theatre, he increasingly wanted to push the boundaries of theatre, and connect more with the audience. In an interview with SCMP, Crawford explained that his initial foray into immersive theatre happened almost by accident:
“I was living in New York, where putting on a play is really expensive. I was living in a 20,000 sq ft loft with nine other people in Williamsburg – before it became cool – and we thought, ‘Why don’t we start putting on plays here?’ It immediately became secret and site-specific, and we couldn’t afford chairs, so it became immersive.
“It’s so fun and adventurous and exciting to do this. I once got asked to direct Hamlet at the Edinburgh Festival, and I was just bored. I really miss the extra layer that the audience can provide.”
Some rank this experience on par to any immersive theater experience in the world.
Not for the feint of heart
Not all the reviewers are fans though – and at $950 HKD a ticket, it can be understood that many attendees would have high expectations.
Director Richard Crawford always welcomes criticism however. Stating that if a viewer of one of his shows was so affected by it that they would take the time to write a comment – then the show is making an impression and doing its job.
Others may not be fans of the violence and the madness, of which Project Mayhem champions. Without giving away too much of the story, Project Mayhem, like all of Secret Theater’s productions, is an adaptation of a well known book and film. Whether you are a fan of the original work or not, most have walked away appreciating this fresh and innovative adaptation.
Hong Kong wants more!
Despite the high ticket price, most are more than satisfied with the experience.
Dinner and a show
Certain show days also offer a dining experience as well. Coupled with the show, this indeed could be made into a special night out.
Local leading performers
Most of the cast are from England. However Crawford has always been keen to work more with Hong Kong’s local talent. Among them are Lorraine Tai, Rosemary Vandenbroucke and our own Third Culture founder and director, Harry Oram.
Many have responded favorably in seeing local talent taking the lead.
Lorraine Tai, is a Hong Kong born actress, who, like many talented Hong Kong performers, left to pursue a career overseas due to a lack of opportunity here in Hong Kong. Now a veteran of Secret Theater, she has returned to Hong Kong with the company for a second time. Hopefully with more productions such as these, Hong Kong might be able to retain some of its more talented actors.
Actress and supermodel Rosemary Vandenbroucke shows off her stage skills as well as her considerable athletic prowess, which you can see in Project Mayhem’s Hong Kong trailer:
Leading this group of space monkeys is Harry Oram. He has not been seen on the Hong Kong stage since 2013 when he performed as Judas in “The Last days of Judas Iscariot”, winning him a Best Actor award for Hong Kong’s HKELD Awards. As an actor, he has been more focused on his career in film, but more recently, hosting for Fox Movies Asia as well.
Despite not appearing on stage for several years, Harry has always supported Hong Kong theater. He set up Third Culture Theatricals with co-founders Joms Ortega and Ralion Alonso, who are also currently in a production, Urinetown. Though all three actors said that they did not yet want to perform in their own productions, in order to give opportunities to other actors; it is great to see all three of them back on stage.
The Show that Hong Kong needs
There is often talk that Hong Kong’s arts scene is in desperate need for a revamp. Hong Kong is a financial, commercial city, and its art scene has fallen far behind. That local talent is not utilized and is often forced to leave. That quality shows are expensive, because they are imported rather than supported locally.
Project Mayhem might just be the show for you. It takes that frustration that we often have all had with commercial city life, and it puts that frustration and energy into one wild night.
Suit up Space Monkeys! Do not miss this show, get your tickets while they still last!