Kim’s Convenience – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

“Kim’s Convenience,” written by Ins Choi of Toronto, is about Korean immigrants and their humorous clashes with black culture. It was an immediate hit before it became a popular TV series on Netflix.

At Westport Country Playhouse (WCP), the realistic, fully-stocked convenience store, designed by You-Shin Chen, immediately invites the audience into the action. You might even feel that you could walk right in and fill your shopping cart with groceries for breakfast, lunch dinner plus grab some strategically placed TV snacks at the cash register.

“Appa,” very believably played by David Shih, is the proud, highly emotional proprietor of Kim’s Convenience. He doesn’t let anything slip by him — not even the illegally parked cars in front of his store.

The convenience store has long hours and Appa’s family lives in the back. Helping Kim are his daughter, “Janet” (Cindy Im), who wants to be a photographer, and “Umma”(Chuja Seol), Kim’s wife, who wishes that their prodigal son, “Jung” (Hyunmin Rhee) will return home and take over the store when the couple retires. “Alex” (Eric R. Williams) is the black policeman who develops a loving relationship with “Janet.” Williams, a versatile actor, amazingly plays a variety of black characters who patronize Kim’s store.

The writer points out that every culture has its stereo-types. However, the play does not touch much on the resentment that poor folks sometimes feel when persons of another race open a store in their neighborhood – giving them little choice but to buy higher priced items there. I expected an armed robbery instead of a martial arts display.

While the play avoids being controversial, and the ending is highly predictable, its clever, Archie Bunker-style humor keeps the audience laughing throughout.

Selected for presentation by WCP’s Artistic Director, Mark Lamos, and featuring an excellent cast directed by Nelson T. Eusebio III, “Kim’s Convenience” is delightfully entertaining.

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