Review: Single Asian Female by Michelle Law

I’m not a theatre reviewer, so this article is literally just me spewing compliments and crying about the perfection I witnessed last night at La Boite.

I’m single, Asian and I also happen to be female. So, when I heard that Michelle Law had written a play titled Single Asian Female, I knew I had to see it.

And boy, did it exceed all my expectations.

This play had it all. There were laughs, tears and a lot of sex jokes. Single Asian Female is about family, culture, and gender and the way Law touches on these topics in such an authentic and relatable manner, it’s easy to picture yourself or someone you know in those same scenarios.

In fact, there’s a point in the play where Zoe (Alex Lee) is seen on several dates and she’s faced with some… odd human beings. My best friend pointedly turned to me and said “that’s you”. Yes, it was. It really, fucking was.

Example A: All Asians are “shy”. Maybe they just didn’t like you m8.

I doubt you would believe the number of times I’ve had someone ask me where I’m really from, and whether I was related to the other Asian in the office.

The play may have made light of these jokes in a way that I normally would, but I’m hoping that people see through the humour to recognise their own biases, either conscious or unconscious, and consider reframing their thought process.

Having parents who migrated to Australia almost 30 year ago, so much of the storyline made me go “OMG YES”. There’s a particular scene where Pearl (Hsiao-Liang Tang) screams in Cantonese “neih gong matyeh wa?” (what did you say?) when Mei (Courtney Stewart) whispers something under her breath. I remember chuckling to myself and hearing a few soft laughs around the room – I felt so proud; I got the joke… in Cantonese! The references to cultural heritage made my heart fill with pride – from Mei claiming her favourite food as being cheung fun, to Pearl trying to get her daughter to wear a cheongsam to her formal. It was all so reminiscent of my life.

Above all, the play for me is about family; about spending time with the people who you love. It’s about appreciating the things your parents do for you, the sacrifices they make. Recognising the people in your life who are there for better or for worse, and cherishing every moment with them.

Single Asian Female is a title that pulled me in because, and I quote, “lol that’s me”. But it’s honestly a play for everyone. It features so many strong, beautiful and talented women playing the roles of equally brilliant women. They even sing! Emily Burton and Emily Vascotto are flawless in their respective characters, with Burton stealing the show in several scenes. The addition of Patrick Jhanur ties the whole play together in a perfect knot.

This is the last week that Single Asian Female is showing so if you have a free night, go and see this! It will change your life.