Review | Hot Asian Doctor Husband: a hoot and a half

Mu Performing Arts, performing at Mixed Blood Theater, through Sept 1

Meghan Kreidler and Damian Leverett in HOT ASIAN DOCTOR HUSBAND. Photo by Rich Ryan.

Leah Nanako Winkler‘s delicious Hot Asian Doctor Husband (Mu Performing Arts, performing at Mixed Blood Theater, through Sept 1) is a prime example of the hoary theatrical truism: when the actors have a good time, so does the audience. And the cast of Hot Asian Doctor Husband (which gets my vote for Best Title of 2019) attack the play with zest, glee and whiz-bang energy. They enjoy themselves immensely – and so will you.

The plot has to do with Emi’s deeply felt need to find some kind of ethnic purity, despite her own biraciality and the indifference of the world she moves in. She breaks up with her (white) boyfriend and tries to elicit support from her pals – without much success.

Emi’s boyfriends are wonderfully played by Mikell Sapp and Damian Leverett. Both men are confused, goofy and utterly lovable. Leverett plays the guitar, stiffly and squeakily, and Sapp… Well, never mind what Sapp does (See the play). There’s the successful and sexy Yoga Queen, Danielle Troiano. The philandering, gravely self-centered hot Asian doctor himself is hootfully played by Eric Sharp. Sharp – and I hope I’m not rubbing him the wrong way – may very well be the funniest actor in town and Hot Asian Doctor Husband gives him ample opportunity to exercise his considerable comic prowess.

Indeed, this is Nanako Winkler’s play’s great accomplishment: it takes characters who might otherwise be off-puttingly self-involved and stern – e.g., “The Mother” – and lets you laugh at them. Even the ever marvelous Sun Mee Chomet, who plays Mom, is allowed some genuine comic flair.

It’s also Mu’s grand achievement. In this and in other plays, Mu turns the American obsession with ethnicity on its ear, all the while being true to the core Mu mission: to explore the Asian-American experience. At Mu, artists work with passion and intelligence. Mu Performing Arts is a Minnesota treasure.

Hot Asian Doctor Husband is beautifully anchored by the shrill (I mean this in the best way) Meghan Kreidler as Emi. “They (caucasian babies) all look like Casper.” “They tell me I’m a bitch. Call me on it.” “I’m fucking crazy!” Kreidler’s Emi is confused, super-smart, filled with pain and screamingly funny. Kreidler is terrific.

All this gorgeous madness is staged with razor’s edge precision by director Seonjae Kim. She makes the play work.

Definitely recommended.

John Olive is a writer living in Minneapolis. His book, Tell Me A Story In The Dark, about the magic of bedtime stories, has been published. John’s The Voice Of The Prairie has been performed 100 plus times and ditto Minnesota Moon and his adaptation of Sideways Stories From Wayside School. His The Summer Moon won a Kennedy Center Award For Drama. John has won fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation and from the National Endowment For The Arts. Please visit his informational website.

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