I Hate Hamlet!

To be or not to be – that is the question facing celebrity TV actor Andrew Rally (Hamish Campbell). To be Hamlet in a prestigious production in New York’s Central Park, or not to be Hamlet and stick to what he knows best – phone-it-in acting on a cheesy but popular TV show.

His girlfriend (Kate Mulligan) and his agent (Kath O’Connor) want him to take the role; his Hollywood buddy (Mike Pizzuto) and real-estate agent (Jane Archibald) do not. As for Andrew, he’s just not sure he’s capable of the Bard. Plus he’s seriously worried about the slings and arrows of outraged critics!

Enter the ghost of John Barrymore (Neville Sarony), dressed in high Shakespearean garb and determined to help Andrew fulfill his actor’s destiny. What a piece of work is Barrymore! Noble in reason and infinite in faculty, and yet Andrew remains suspicious that Barrymore may smile and smile and be a villain.

Playwright Paul Rudnick had the idea for I Hate Hamlet! when he lived in John Barrymore’s apartment in New York in the late 1980s. This Hong Kong Players production is directed by Jodi Gilchrist.

So, what’s a man to do? It’s said that all the world’s a stage and each must play his part… the question is, which part?

Cast
Andrew Rally – Hamish Campbell
John Barrymore – Neville Sarony
Deirdre McDavey – Kate Mulligan
Lillian Troy – Kath O’Connor
Felicia Dantine – Jane Archibald
Gary Lefkowitz – Mike Pizzuto

Director: Jodi Gilchrist
Assistant Director: Sarah Kidd

I Hate Hamlet!
Hong Kong Players
Date: 1-4 March, 2017
Venue: Fringe Club, Fringe Underground
Tickets: $280 from www.art-mate.net

Australia Day Reception @ Grand Hyatt – 24 January, 2017

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A celebration of all things Australian at the annual Australia Day Reception at the Grand Hyatt.
Quality Australian tucker from seafood to meat, Almost Golden Gay Time ice-cream to Lamingtons accompanied by Australian wines and beers made for a fine evening celebrating ‘Straya.
Click on any photo or here for the full gallery of images

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Women’s Rugby Results – 21 January, 2017

Premiership

Gai Wu Falcons 73-3 HKFC Ice
@ HK Football Club, Kick-off: 18:00

USRC Tigers 3-43 Valley Black
@ Happy Valley, Kick-off: 18:00

Kowloon 12-14 CWB Phoenix
@ King’s Park, Kick-off: 19:30

National League 1

USRC Tigers 12-17 Valley Red
@ Happy Valley, Kick-off: 16:30

HK Scottish v HKCC
@ Shek Kip Mei, Kick-off: 18:00

Gai Wu Fawkes 5-15 Tai Po Dragons
@ KG V, Kick-off: 18:00

National League 2

Gai Wu Hawks 10-5 Tai Po Dragons
@ KG V, Kick-off: 16:30

CWB Lammergeier 17-14 Police Sirens
@ Police Boundary Street, Kick-off: 18:00

Photo: Gozar Images

Chocolate Lovers High Tea Delight

Attention chocolate lovers, Three on Canton‘s latest offering looks to sate your desires. The ‘Divine French Chocolate High Tea Set’ features an array of chocolate-themed savoury and sweet treats. What’s immediately obvious when the three-tiered high tea arrives is the amount of food. Too often tea-sets feature micro-bites, here each is at least two bites and you’ll certainly not leave hungry.

The tea set features 11 beautifully presented offerings, 4 savoury and 7 sweet, and you can enjoy your food with a cocktail, mocktail, tea or coffee. The savoury chocolate bites are a chicken nugget in a delicious dark chocolate dip – what a fine combination – and a mango and prawn brioche with white chocolate yoghurt sauce, it sounds delicious and is. These are served with two popular favourites Toast with fig, blue cheese and Parma ham and Smoked salmon asparagus rolls.

The sweet bites cover a broad range of flavours and textures and include: Chocolate and pear panna cotta, Dark chocolate mousse with mixed berries pie, Double chocolate cream puff, Milk chocolate mousse with vanilla apple filling, White chocolate mousse with apricot cake, Dark chocolate brownie, Coconut and chocolate chip butter scone with real clotted cream and jam. All are tasty and while none stand out, there are also none you’ll want to ignore.

The ‘Divine French Chocolate High Tea Set’ ($488/2 people, 3-5pm daily) offers a fine way to spend a relaxing afternoon, sitting inside or out. The portions size are good and although there’s a lot of chocolate the chefs have cleverly balanced it with other flavours and textures to ensure that it doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds.

Three on Canton / Be on Canton: Level 3, Gateway Hotel, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2113 7828

Hong Kong Rebound Against Scotland

Hong Kong rebounded from their disappointing Desert T20 campaign to score a convincing win over Scotland in the first ODI of a mini tri-series that also involves the UAE.

After dismissing the Scots for 205, a calm half-century from captain Babar Hayat helped guide Hong Kong past the target with seven wickets and 34 balls to spare.

After winning the toss and electing to field, it was left arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed who was the star with the ball for HK, taking 4-33 from his 10 overs.

The spinners did well to pull the innings back after Scotland built a solid base at 49-0 in 10 overs. Ehsan Khan (1-33) also proved difficult to get away.

In response, debutant Cameron McAuslan was dismissed for 8 but Chris Carter made 43 off 56 balls to relieve any early innings nerves.

Captain Babar Hayat took his time getting in, pacing his innings perfectly as he hit 7 boundaries in his unbeaten 79 from 110 balls.

Nizakat Khan (25 off 21) and Waqas Khan (35* off 52) provided adequate support as the target was reached without any major scares.

“You can’t ask for a better performance, we were outstanding in the field and with the bat as well,” coach Simon Cook said.

“We’ve started to show how far we are coming, we just have to get the consistency of performances together now.”

“The wicket was a little tacky early so winning the toss was important and we hit our straps with good focus and intent – we never let them go at any point.”

“You look at the side that’s here and it’s pretty exciting that we can beat Scotland without Jamie (Atkinson), Chappy (Mark Chapman), Anshy (Anshuman Rath) and Tanwir Afzal. It means the others are starting to step-up. We are building a strong base of players.”

Additional reporting and images: HK Cricket

Valley Black Power Past USRC Tigers

It was another Valley Black onslaught at Happy Valley as the defending Grand Champions put USRC Tigers away early with three tries in the opening 20 minutes, before lapses in concentration saw them drift for the remainder of the half.

James Elliot, Valley’s coach, credited a tough Tigers pack and injuries to several key players – Hong Kong internationals Adrienne Garvey, Colleen Tjosvold and Stephanie Cuvelier were all missing from the backline – as partial reasons for the drift. “Tigers were really strong at the scrums and dominated us on a few occasions,” said Elliot.

“We also had a lot of unforced errors due to a lack of cohesion in the backs as there were quite a few replacements today, some of whom hadn’t trained together or even played yet this season. But we still have four weeks remaining to work on that cohesion before the Grand Championships” added Elliot.

Valley scored seven tries with flanker Olivia Coady and No.8 Amelie Seure both collecting braces, while Nadia Cuvelier, Zoe Smith and Caitlin Spencer added tries of their own. Smith added four conversions.

With four of those tries coming from the forwards, Elliot gave due credit to his back row trio of flankers Coady and Toto Cheng and No.8 Seure for holding up to the Tigers challenge.

“Amelie and Olivia combined really well and Toto was everywhere causing problems for the Tigers, she was a real livewire.”

Adrienne Davis, promoted from the club’s NL1, performed well as did Spencer, who scored Valley’s opening try on her first match for the club in five years after recently returning to Hong Kong.

Extra tackling practice is likely this week after two Valley players were sin-binned in the final ten minutes for high tackles, allowing Tigers to put their only points on the board in the 76th minute. Valley Black have now conceded just 21 points over eight games this season.

In the days other Premiership action current table toppers Gai Wu Falcons comfortably beat HKFC Ice 73-3, Valley have two games in hand on the league leaders. Kowloon were left frustrated after a narrow loss to Causeway Bay Phoenix in a match where it enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but saw the result slip from their hands through unforced errors.

Additional reporting and photos: HKrugby

Premiership Preview – 21 January, 2017

Valley Black take on the USRC Tigers as first plays third in the Women’s Premiership Game of the Week at Happy Valley, kick-off is at 6pm. The Tigers have made big strides this season as they look to close the gap on the league’s front-runners but will have to be at the top of their game having lost the reverse fixture 32-3 earlier in the season.

Tigers Coach Liu Kwok-leung noted that his side could still be a bit rusty as their 61-10 win over Kowloon last weekend was their first competitive match since November – and despite the lengthy lay-off, the Tigers are struggling with injuries.

“We’ll probably bring some players up for the game against Valley, which will make getting the result that much harder, but it will give a chance for the younger players to get more experience,” said Liu.

“Valley is a tough game, but we’ll do our best. We’ve been preparing hard, and we know them much better now than when we met earlier this season. We’ve been working a lot on our defence, as if you can’t defend against Valley, you have no chance to attack,” added Liu.

Liu is also encouraged by the rapid development of some young players in the Tigers set-up: “We’ve got a few U18 girls coming through, which is really exciting. Hebe Talas will start this week on the wing. She’s a quality athlete and will be a major player for us in the future.”

Talas, and forward Maelle Picut who will start on the bench, were part of the U18s girls sevens side that won Hong Kong’s first Asian U18s Girls Sevens Championship last December, scoring a try in the final, a 12-5 win over Kazakhstan. “I’m really looking forward to see how these girls go,” said Liu

The Tigers’ U18s could find themselves facing their Hong Kong team-mates Kelsie Bouttle and Clare Coey who have both been getting Premiership match time with Valley this season.

“We can’t lose focus as we can’t afford any mistakes against Valley. They have a lot of national team players. We can learn a lot from playing them, but we don’t have any pressure. We can just tell the players to go out and enjoy it and that’s when we perform best,” said Liu who is satisfied with the Tigers’ position in the table: “We don’t feel any pressure to move up the table. We can continue to focus on our performance, as we’re confident we can keep ahead of the clubs below us. Our game isn’t yet at the level to consistently match Valley and Gai Wu so we need more experience, which is why this weekend is important.”

“Our target is the Grand Championships. We have set a goal to reach the final and beat whoever we face there,” Liu added.

With an undefeated run that is now in it’s third straight season, Liu can expect that opponent to be Valley, who also have their eyes on the same prize.

“We’re keeping an eye on the Grand Championships now and working on the expectation that we’ll play Gai Wu again, but this is rugby and anything could happen,” Valley Black coach Elliot said.

“Tigers are a good side. They know what they’re doing so it’s always a tough game. Our girls really want this win, but we’re also mindful that the schedule is going to get a lot tougher in the coming weeks. Our challenge now is to play some of our make-up games while managing player availability and fitness and, of course, not picking up too many injuries.”

“We need to get through this tough game on Saturday, and then we play Football Club next Thursday, which will be the first time we’ve met this season. We play them again the following week, giving us two matches against them in nine days, which can be tricky.”

Elliot has reshuffled his forward pack in the hunt for some new combinations for the remainder of the season and that could offer an opportunity for Tigers.

“It will be a baptism of fire for our forwards against the strong Tigers pack,” Elliot concluded.

In the other matches this weekend Gai Wu Falcons will face fourth-ranked HKFC Ice, while sixth-ranked Kowloon looks for its second win of the season against fifth-placed Causeway Bay Phoenix.

Additional reporting and photos: HK Rugby, Panadaman

Women’s Rugby Fixtures – 21 January, 2017