Hong Kong stage classic I Have A Date With Spring to run in Singapore in May

The latest stage run of I Have A Date With Spring stars Hong Kong show business veterans (from left) Louisa So, Michelle Yim, Alice Lau and Eliza Chan. -- PHOTO: SPRING-TIME PRODUCTIONS
The latest stage run of I Have A Date With Spring stars Hong Kong show business veterans (from left) Louisa So, Michelle Yim, Alice Lau and Eliza Chan. -- PHOTO: SPRING-TIME PRODUCTIONS

Hong Kong dramatist Raymond To's popular stage classic, I Have A Date With Spring, will be enjoying a revival in Singapore more than 20 years after its debut.

This incarnation of the 1992 show, directed by Clifton Ko, 55, will feature Hong Kong stars Alice Lau, 45, Eliza Chan, 59, Louisa So, 46, and Michelle Yim, 58 - all veterans of the stage and screen. It will run at the Resorts World Theatre from May 23 to 25.

The nostalgia-laden work traces the lives and friendships of four cabaret singers at the Flower Palace Nightclub in 1960s Hong Kong.

It begins with the night when singer Butterfly Yiu (singer-actress Lau) is given a chance to take centre stage after another star performer is stranded at another venue due to the 1967 Hong Kong Leftist Riots.

When actress Yim was first cast in Hong Kong director Ko's restaging of the show in 1995, she was taken aback at how pitch-perfect the casting was. She plays the part of singer Lulu Kim.

Speaking to Life! in Mandarin over the telephone from Hong Kong, the popular TVB actress says: "Everyone's personality is very different, so I feel that the director was very accurate with his casting.

"Alice Lau, who plays Butterfly, sings songs that really fit her personality, and also Eliza Chan, who really likes singing English songs. I'm like Lulu, who is more cheerful, happy and silly." Singeractress Chan plays singer Nancy Hong.

Yim, affectionately known as Mixue, won Best Actress at the TVB Anniversary Awards in 2008 for her role as a calculating second wife in the series Moonlight Resonance and is also well known for playing the part of empress dowager Cixi in the period drama, The Confidant.

She feels that I Have A Date With Spring tends to garner two types of audience members - newcomers who have heard about the show's success from others and long-time fans who first saw the production nearly 20 years ago.

She says: "Those original audience members were young women before and, perhaps, they are mothers now. They will have a different experience watching us this time around.

"We haven't changed the script because there's a sense of timelessness to it and it doesn't feel outdated, and audience members love the script and these characters."

I Have A Date With Spring has a wide reach in popular culture, having been adapted into a wellreceived film in 1994, which clinched awards for Best Newcomer (Lau) and Best Screenplay (To) at the 14th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards.

It was also turned into a 40-episode television series by ATV in 1995 and starred actress Sheren Tang as Butterfly Yiu.

When the play was restaged in Hong Kong last year, it sold out its 20-performance run of more than 16,000 tickets.

Yim, who is single, feels that the play very accurately depicts the nature of female friendships.

She says: "These four women meet when they're very young, innocent and energetic, then their lives develop in different ways and more than 10 years later, they've all changed as the years go by and as they go through different stages of life.

"But what's so beautiful is what doesn't change - that humanity they share."

corriet@sph.com.sg

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