Moni Zhang’s storytelling abilities are profound.
The beginning of your time with Zhang instantly warms you to her. She pokes fun at Chinese stereotypes in a really creative and funny manner. As a Chinese woman, she is proud, and she takes her time in explaining her love for her country – which has a lot to do with noodles.
What is so pleasantly surprising about this show is the eloquence of the monologue, it’s rare to see a free show have an act so confident in their script. What this allows is the gravitas of Zhang’s story to truly shine. She has you on tenterhooks as she details the brutality of growing up in the Wuhan ghetto which is hardly eased by her aggravatingly judgemental family. Life beyond Wuhan has been no plain sailing either. Culture shocks and finding love have proved hard for Zhang but her undying resilience is both endearing and inspiring.
Even at the darkest moments of this show Zhang will slip in a deeply humorous line. Her life may have been difficult, but she helps us laugh through it as she clearly has herself. She doesn’t shy away from crude jokes which land with mixed effect yet there is a fearlessness to the comedic side of this story. Racy jokes on gender, race and life in the bedroom are often highlights of the narrative.
Zhang’s story is really solid from start to finish. She intimately connects to the audience in an equally intimate venue. And while there is a lot of content in this show that can lower your mood, Zhang manages to keep spirits high, creating this unique feeling of optimism. This person has been through it all but has come out the other side laughing and smiling.
This show doesn’t contain wall-to-wall laughs, but it doesn’t have to. If you want to see an excellently performed telling of a truly tumultuous life story, especially set in an environment you may know little about, then ‘Child From Wuhan’ is a gem.
Moni Zhang: Child from Wuhan – Pay What You Can
17:00 at The Three Sisters (Venue 272)
August 4 – 9, 11 – 16, 18 – 23, 25 – 28