The reviews are in for ‘Yellow Fever’ by Mu Performing Arts

Rick Shiomi is retiring from his position as Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts this fall. To mark the end of his twenty year run with the company, he’s brought back one of the first shows they produced – a play he wrote called Yellow Fever.

The show is set in 1970s Vancouver; memories of the Japanese-Canadian internment camps still linger, and a new wave of Chinese immigrants are sparking another round of xenophobia. A local beauty queen has mysteriously disappeared, and a hard boiled detective finds himself up against police corruption, racism, and a determined young newspaper reporter.

Critics found Yellow Fever a fitting tribute to Shiomi’s career, and gave it predominantly positive reviews.

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Alex Galick as Chuck Chan, Jeannie Lander as Rosie, and Kurt Kwan as Sam Shikaze in Yellow Fever

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Graydon Royce at the Star Tribune:

Shiomi’s play still carries a historic message and tells us much about him. “Yellow Fever,” which opened in a Mu Performing Arts production at the Guthrie on Saturday, mixes righteous anger with a noirish sense of ironic humor. Shiomi always has been a serious artist who cloaks his gravity in self-deprecating humor.

…”Yellow Fever” feels its age. Yet, there is still a charm to its style and an earnest plaint in its message. In sum, it reflects its writer well.

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Kurt Kwan as Sam Shikaze and Sara Ochs as Nancy Wing in Yellow Fever

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Dominic P. Papatola at the Pioneer Press:


The new staging of the play to mark Shiomi’s retirement as artistic director of Mu Performing Arts shows that the play has aged well and that its themes remain significant. …For a play written in the early years of the culturally specific theater boom of the 1970s and early 80s, “Yellow Fever” doesn’t feel like the work of young genre or a young playwright, and most of the issues it raises linger still. That’s at once a complement to its creator and an indictment of the society in which it was created.

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Kurt Kwan as Sam Shikaze, Sara Ochs as Nancy Wing, Eric Sharp as Capt. Kadota and Brandon Ewald as Sgt. Mackenzie in Yellow Fever

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Ed Huyck at the City Pages:


Yellow Fever has the look and sound of a play by a young playwright loving the act of creation, intoxicated with the possibility of the stage, and ready to share a story close to his heart. It also sometimes uses a bludgeon when a knife would be more appropriate.

From Janet Preus at HowWasTheShow.com:


The trick with this play is to capture the era capturing another era, playing to an audience of another era – without flat-out stereotypes marking the path. This production does this deftly; we get the laughs – and we get the point.

Yellow Fever runs through March 24 at the Guthrie Theater. Have you seen it? What’s your review?

  • Lonnie Carter

    Rick is a terrific writer. I saw this play ages ago and would love to see it again, especially Kurt Kwan who was in a little something called The Romance of Magno Rubio, also produced by Rick for Theater Mu at Mixed Blood a few years back. What a treat for Rick! And us.