How I Met My Dead Husband is a fun musical play, which explores the idea of love over multiple lifetimes and languages. Performed by the talented Lansey Feng, it was well put together and clever in its approach – funny and enjoyable to watch. Using Feng’s mastery of three different languages (English, Mandarin, and French), as well as her impressive vocal talent, the show
Straight off the bat, having a play that spreads three languages is something that really should catch on. Australians have for too long only had to speak in English, and 73% of us (current author included) only speak English – which leaves us behind in this increasingly interconnected world. How I Met My Dead Husband is a showcase, among other things, of Feng’s mastery of two languages (and a healthy level of a third), which we should see more of in this modern world. Plus it opens up entire new worlds of songs and, hopefully once Australians learn enough of a second language, puns!
The use of reincarnation as a plot piece was also quite innovative as well. Through it, it became possible for the performance to have several different stories play out with the same characters recurring, making for some interesting tales (such as a Madame Butterfly approach in one of them), and meant that characters could appear and reappear as required without it seeming overly contrived. Reincarnation is also a concept which is not overly explored in a lot of traditional Western stories, so it was good to have something new and well thought out making an appearance.
The music and singing were another strong point of the performance. Feng clearly has vocal experience, and she managed to really hammer home the emotion and feeling in each song – so much so that the audience (most of which it could be assumed to not understand the words) would have the correct emotional response to the music. It was a very impressive feat – most of the time in a narrative-driven piece like this, having an understanding of the vocals is usually important, but Feng managed to convey meanings that were clearly universal in their appeal. I suppose there is something to be said for the universal appeal of music.
Sadly the performance was let down a bit by the venue and the props. The music and vocals would sometimes get lost in the lofty heights of the church, which was a shame as they were enjoyable. There was a pivotal prop however that was a bit underutilised – a hollow wooden box with a light inside. Although nothing shall be given away here, it did feel that something that was interacted with could have been given a higher profile for the audience to see – as it was, only the front two rows had visibility of it.
Overall, a funny and engaging performance. The use of multiple languages makes the show engaging and different, and the concepts delivered were thoughtful and clearly well thought out. The mixture different stories inside the overarching theme was enjoyable as well.Hopefully she starts a trend of plays featuring multiple languages in them.