Review – Golden Lotus by Emily Chan

A cinematic presentation of the Hong Kong world premiere stage production of the musical Golden Lotus. Based on the most infamous Chinese novel of all time, Jin Ping Mei, the musical is an epic drama about the forsaken beauty Golden Lotus who undergoes a spellbinding journey of ill-fated love amidst the dying war-torn years of Song Dynasty China.

Edmund C. Short – ‘In Isolation’

Directed by Emily Chan, ‘Golden Lotus’ is a musical that adapts the classic Chinese novel Jin Ping Mei for theatre. Using dozens of actors, a plethora of different sets and a fantastic score, Chan brings the novel to life with great care and flair.

“Golden Lotus is based on the most infamous Chinese novel of all time, Jin Ping Mei, which has been censured in China for over four hundred years. Despite its censorship, the story and its iconic characters survived surreptitiously and have been endeared by the Chinese for centuries.”

– Emily Chan

The first thing that instantaneously hits you about the production is the painstaking accuracy to the source material. The cast is terrific and as the story involves a bit of singing and dancing, the actors who portray the main characters are pretty good in this regard.

Although theatre is sometimes limited in visual scope as compared to films, Chan does not let the limitations of stage hinder her creative vision in any way or form. Without a doubt, this is a proper adaptation of the source material, one that swings for the fences and succeeds. 

This musical adaptation animatedly introduces its timeless and riveting story to English speaking audiences, for the first time ever, in a fresh and exciting way with music that combines pop rock with Chinese harmonies and instrumentation.”

– Emily Chan

The most important part of any musical is the music itself and it is here that ‘Golden Lotus’ manages to shine. The actors sing perfectly, the music aiding their performances in a magical way.

The choreography is resolute and conveys that the actors underwent painstaking rehearsals before getting the final version just right. The absolute variety of the costumes at display is also something to behold with every single costume displaying a high level of detail and craftsmanship. 

Sure to be a cultural phenomenon, the Golden Lotus is a mesmerizing achievement with stunning choreography and equally stunning physical performances.

“To bring this musical from the stage to screen we recorded four consecutive live performances of the show during its world premiere run in Hong Kong. In post-production we created a definitive version of the show using footage from all four performances.

Our goal while combining the magic of special effects and editing was to provide viewers with an experience that stays true to the original stage production but with a cinematic and more intimate feel.”

– Emily Chan

From the costumes to the songs, everything is meticulously detailed giving the whole production an ethereal feel that is hard to top.

Emily Chan has gone above and beyond in giving the classic Chinese novel its due and the result is a fantastic production that is sure to impress everyone. 

Director Biography – Emily Chan

Emily Chan graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a drama diploma and a first-class Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Degree, majoring in Directing.

She directed Out of Order as her graduation project, which is a farce written by the famous English comedy playwright, Ray Cooney.

Her awards and recognitions are numerous, including the Outstanding Director Award, the Outstanding Student Award, Disney Scholarship, Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation Scholarship, Anthony Chan Scholarship and HSBC Mainland Exchange Scholarship. 

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