RICE is the latest play by Queensland Theatre, a co-production with Griffin Theatre Company in Sydney. It is a drama written by the talented Michele Lee, who won the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award (QPDA) for this work. In RICE we see race, gender and power collide as the “Indian princess” and “Chinese cleaner” come face to face. RICE is the story of two multicultural women making their way in modern Australia who forge a powerful, if unlikely, friendship that gets results.
Two acclaimed actors- Hsiao- Ling Tang and Kristy Best have been cast as leads in this sharp play which is full of wicked humour and observations on globalisation, power, politics and migration.
Hsiao Ling Tang was most recently praised for her role in La Boite Theatre’s ‘Single Asian Female’. She has been seen in several theatre roles, as well as the film ‘Postcard Bandit’. She plays cleaner- Yvette.
Kristy Best recently starred in the Griffin Theatre Company’s ‘Gloria’ as well as on television in ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Top of the Lake’. Kristy plays the corporate second- in-command of an Australian rice company-Nisha.
Both actors give strong and flawless performances in RICE. They use the intimate stage setting of the Billie Brown Studio to full advantage and make wonderful use of minimal props to tell their story with themes of globalisation, changing values in traditional households and ultimately friendship between two seemingly, on the surface, very different women.
Both actors have to play a variety of characters which they do well. I loved it when Hsaio Ling Tang transformed into the character of Nisha’s Indian food truck owner boyfriend and Kristy Best relished her time on stage as pouty teenager – Cherie. Both actors seamlessly moved from character to character with the help of Lee’s fluid dialogue.
For me RICE explored themes that affect all of us in very human ways- our ageing parents and grandparents, dealing with teens and family, romantic entanglements and how they can change lives forever and ultimately how true and open friendships between women can make us strong.
Michele Lee has created a wonderful play, which although dramatic, has a lightness of touch at just the right moments. I loved the ongoing role of the fake Prada shoes and handbags, the jokes about traditional food and the exasperation with the younger generation. She takes us from macro to micro issues with a deft touch.
Director of RICE – Lee Lewis says,“Michele is one of the next generation of Australian playwrights who writes for the world, not just Australia…. RICE is both deeply intimate and powerfully global in its reach.”
Sam Strong who was in the audience for opening night has said, “RICE is a sophisticated portrait of contemporary Australia right now, a play that depicts who we are and who we want to be in all its complexity and diversity…. it expertly blends dry humour and sharp insight.”
For a great night out, supporting our local contemporary theatre scene, look no further than Queensland Theatre’s RICE. Why not grab some friends and warm up on a chilly winter’s night by heading along to watch a play with real heart. RICE will leave you thinking about issues that affect us all long after the final applause. The beautifully written play – RICE will be playing at the Billie Brown Studio, Queensland Theatre from 24 June – 16 July.