Reviews for Happy Daughter
2003 Boston Theatre Marathon
Performed by Raven Theatrical

Greg Lam's Happy Daughter, presented by Raven Theatrical and directed by Kevin Fennessy, was a hoot. A young Chinese writer called Carol, living in Iowa, gets a visit from her mother. Mom, whom Carol believes should behave like a Chinese mom from central casting, shows up with a boyfriend; not only that, he's Caucasian, very handsome, and decades younger. Carol is stunned. "She didn't get the memo," Carol complains in an aside. "She's supposed to stay home and play mahjong." Instead, mom is singing karaoke, giggling with the beau over their special drink, and holding hands. Bernice Sim played the bemused daughter, while Bonnie Lee Whang and Kent French were the couple who shake up her preconceptions. French, an excellent cabaret singer in real life, was very funny in an off-key karaoke rendition of the Elvis tune "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

-Caroline Burlingham-Ellis, TheaterMania

A grown daughter is equally weirded out by her mother's young boyfriend in Greg Lam's Happy Daughter (Raven Theatrical). In this humorous contemplation of the not-so-secret sex lives of parents, it's the mother-child bond that's on the fritz. Characters seemingly cut from Christopher Durang's dramatic cloth are plunked down in Sam Shepard's sordid Midwest. Rife with riffs on Asian-American culture, and played for appropriately kitschy effect under Kevin Fennessy's direction, this clever reversal of the parent-letting-go theme was narrated by Bernice Sim's smart, sad Carol as she comes to grips with how Mom's brawny, brainless beau has saved Mom from all the stereotypes of "divorced, middle-aged, Asian mothers."

-Liza Weisstuch, Boston Phoenix

Greg Lam turned this idea on its head by having a daughter (Bernice Sim) meet her widowed Chinese mother (Bonnie Lee Whang)'s younger, non-Asian new boyfriend (Kent French) in a whirlwind tour of Chinese restaurants in (where else) Iowa. In each, Kate Fitz Kelly became differently named and dressed waitresses announcing tonight as the night for "Karaoke!" Andy Gaus supplied accompaniment and Music Direction, and Kevin Fennessy Directed for Raven Theatrical.

-Larry Stark, Theater Mirror

Happy Daughter, by Greg Lam, told the complete story of a girl struggling with her mother's newfound happiness with a much-younger man. Performances by every member of this company, Bernice Sim, Bonnie Lee Whang, Kent French and Kate Fitz Kelly, were excellent.

-Terry Byrne and Robert Nesti, Boston Herald