Park Theatre (studio)
Esther Yun (director)
12 January 2024 (released)
14 January 2024
Kim’s Convenience has begun its run at Park Theatre, in Finsbury Park.
For those who are unfamiliar with Kim's Convenience it is set in Toronto, Canada and is the classic tale of an immigrant family settling in a western country.
I first came to know of this production when it was turned into a TV show for Netflix and proved to be a huge hit with relatable story lines.
Mr Kim or Appa (father) as his children and wife call him, was a Korean teacher who moved to Canada for a better life with his wife. Due to not having sufficient English, he was unable to continue his career in teaching. However, he was able to set up his own corner store, which became well known within the community. Like most migration stories, people move in order to create a better life for themselves, but most importantly for their offspring.
A poignant moment in this production was the argument between Mr Kim (Ins Choi) and his daughter Janet (Jennifer Kim) a thirty year old photographer who, like many millennials, still lives at home with her parents. The relationship between Janet and her father is one that many can relate to. Many immigrant parents’ love language are acts of service - the sacrifices they have made for their children are out of love, whereas their children look for words of affirmation and would like to hear their parents tell them that they are proud of them and love them. Both Choi and Kim portrayed the father and daughter relationship perfectly.
It would have been nice to see more of Umma (Namju Go) who had great comedic timing and could easily convey this to the audience even when she was speaking in Korean. Miles Mitchell played several characters (with varying accents) very well. Jung’s (Brian Law) character could have been fleshed out a little better.
There was an audible gasp as the audience walked into the theatre and saw the magnificent set. The small details such as the lit up open door sign and the contents of the store with the imported snacks made the set very realistic and enhanced the performances.
There were many laughs, with a couple of uncomfortable moments but ultimately you felt connected to the journey of the characters. The wisdom of the older generation combined with the freedom of thought from the younger generation allows you to experience something special with this production.
It makes me happy to know that Ins Choi and Esther Jun (director) decided to bring Kim’s Convenience to London, increasing East-Asian visibility within the theatre scene.