A S T
Wang Lan Wei
Ku Shao Hsu
arranged by David Sewell
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- 25th May 1968
from The Bedfordshire Times by Dina Morris.
the East is
is a place of tours, food, festivals, and entertainment.
It is also a place where Communist agents and Christian
zealots rub shoulders with the sick and the poor.
is a place where ideals perish or are born anew amid the
dirt and squalor, the drug-peddling, and the twisted mentality
of its mixed population.
The island, with its Communist, Christian, and Western
outlook, is, too, the scene of Robert Duce's missionary
thriller "Hongkong Adventure ", presented by
the Wesley Players at St. Paul's Methodist Mission Hall,
Harpur Street, Bedford, last Friday.
An interesting play, which was made slightly less intriguing
and stimulating than it should be by actors and actresses
who were at times overcome by its momentary tensions and
Dr. Geoffrey Bevers, a solid, dependable English doctor,
played in a solid, depend able manner by Anthony Armstrong,
is running a clinic in Hongkong for the sick, with the
help of Communist Dr. Ku Shao Hsu (John Yunnie), who has
been converted from his former beliefs. They take delivery
of a rare English drug which they need to cure their TB
The need for that drug is, however, being felt in other
quarters, mainly in the Communist People's Republic of
Li Ming Fu (John Bennett), a smooth-talking, fixated Communist
agent in Hongkong, and friend of Dr. Bevers, steals the
drug and, before the theft is discovered, sends the capsules
containing the serum past frontier guards on its way to
the sick in his homeland.
The problem which this play poses and which it characteristically
refuses to answer is the eternal one with which the world
is often faced. When you are sick, does it matter whether
you are a Communist, a Jew, a Gentile or a fool?
The need to save life is felt on all sides, by all beliefs,
and in "Hongkong Adventure" one is left with
a sympathy for all the sick and dying, wherever they are.
Ku is allowed to make that last gallant gesture which
perhaps gave this play its one true moment of natural
feeling among the many words spoken on politics, nationalists,
and Christians when he offers to return to China to save
the life of the young daughter of Li Ming Fu.
Whether it was the fault of the dialogue or the fault
of the players, the play at times swung from fiction to
impressionable reality. There were moments during its
two-hour run when one forgot the hard benches of the missionary
hall; there were others when every word seemed wooden
It was, though, an adventure in amateur acting, a play
which was well produced by Myrtle Newbury, despite the
many difficulties encountered by an inadequate stage and
Sister Rogers (Vera Newbold) was conclusively dour and
sternly disciplined as the clinic's superior assistant.
Ann Bevers, the doctor's wife (Margery Stoneham was slightly
stupid and delightfully dreamy as the middle-aged woman
who wasn't quite clever enough herself to become a missionary,
and Nurse Wang Lan Mei (Frances Yunnie) was excellent
as the young girl torn between love and Communist party
Alvis Purcell (David Carter) and North Purcell (Josephine
Fennell) were typically vague and well-meaning as the
English couple who delivered the drug and found the noise
of squawling Hongkong was just like their budgie aviary
Stage management was in the hands of Desmond Smith, Andrew
Cook, and Bill Newbold. Stage manager-in-chief, David
Carter; prompt, Joy Newbold; sound effects, David Eames;
music, David Sewell; make-up, Mrs. E. Tarrant; front of
house, Peter Beck; lighting, Andrew Cook.