Review: Summer Rolls, at Park Theatre
27 June, 2019 — By Alina Polianskaya
Linh-Dan Pham and Anna Nguyen in Summer Rolls. Photo: Danté Kim
SUMMER Rolls follows a Vietnamese immigrant family in England, each with individual struggles and hidden scars from their past in a war-torn country.
The first British Vietnamese play of its kind in the UK, it’s a fresh take on a familiar story of a teenager trying to blend her family’s traditional values with the desire to grow up like her peers in the Western world.
This coming-of-age tale follows Mai, a girl fascinated by the power of photography to capture stories and memories, when words are not enough.
She is the daughter of a hardworking, fiery and over-imposing mother who makes her speak Vietnamese at home, chooses what she wears and stops her going out.
Her father, a war veteran, only shows his emotions while sleepwalking, recalling past horrors – moments that Mai secretly photographs.
Her brother, Anh, who was sent to the UK as a child, struggles to find work after graduation and is becoming disillusioned.
The story explores the complicated family relationships between different generations, who don’t always understand each other, but still love each other fiercely.
Set inside the confines of the family home, highlights include scenes with Mai and David, her black boyfriend who she is terrified of introducing to her family.
The young couple sneak around, cracking jokes and smoking cheeky cigarettes, providing some comic relief to an otherwise serious play.
Until July 13
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