By STUART NULMAN

Soulpepper, Kim's Convenience

Soulpepper, Kim’s Convenience

 

 

Whether you’re Scottish or Irish, Eastern European Jewish, Oriental or Middle Eastern, coming to live in a new country like Canada means working hard in order to succeed, and offering your children a new way of life where you can live the Canadian dream.

 

 

 

Ins Choi’s play “Kim’s Convenience” takes a rather broad humoristic look at how one immigrant and his family tries to live that Canadian dream, as seen through aisles filled with soft drinks, quarts of milk, bags of potato chips and rows of chewing gum and chocolate bars.

 

 

 

Now playing a limited engagement at the Segal Centre until March 19, “Kim’s Convenience”, which forms the basis of the hit CBC TV sitcom of the same name, centres on Mr. Kim (aka “Appa”), a first generation Korean-Canadian who runs a convenience store in the heart of downtown Toronto. Along with his rather semi-broken English, his hard work towards running a successful mom-and-pop business – not to mention his penchant for exercising his karate-style holds on unsuspecting customers – Mr. Kim is trying to live that Canadian dream, yet is stuck in a dilemma of vigourously promoting his Korean traditions and values onto his two children Janet and Jung, who would rather stick with the ways of their actual home and native country, which is Canada. However, Mr. Kim faces another dilemma; a local real estate developer offers to buy the store from him for a tempting, princely sum that would guarantee a comfortable retirement, but he also thinks of keeping the store so that hopefully Janet would inherit it from him and turn it into a true “family business”.

 

 

 

There is plenty of comedy in the play, which will certainly please those who are devoted viewers of the CBC sitcom (myself included). The back-and-forth repartee between Mr. Kim and Janet (played with a great deal of energy by Rosie Simon), is fun to watch, and is reminiscent of the classic repartees that fans of Abbott & Costello enjoyed more than 70 years ago. Another treat for fans of the sitcom is that Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon reprise their TV roles on stage as, respectively, Appa and Umma Kim.

 

 

 

And as a rather unexpected surprise, the play offers a rather humanistic side to it, as a subplot deals with son Jung (Richard Lee) being estranged from the Kim family due to a boiling point of that clash of culture and values between him and his father. It’s not there for a mandatory dramatic angle, but gives a more realistic angle of how two generations of new Canadians deal with maintaining their original ethnic culture and the one of their adopted homeland.

 

 

 

No matter what, “Kim’s Convenience” has what you’re looking for to meet your entertainment needs, so catch it now before Mr. Kim flips the “closed” sign on the store window.

 

 

 

Kim's Convenience, Soulpepper

Kim’s Convenience, Soulpepper

 

Tickets for the limited engagement of “Kim’s Convenience” are $60, with special discounts available for groups, seniors, students, subscribers and those 30 years of age and under. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 514-739-7944, or got to www.segalcentre.org.