Endless laughter with Kim’s Convenience at The Grand

A photo of Ins Choi and Kelly J Seo on stage in Kim's Convenience CREDIT: DAHLIA KATZ
The modern Canadian classic, Kim's Convenience returns to the stage in London. Pictured: Ins Choi (left) and Kelly J Seo (right).

As someone who had never watched the Canadian classic sitcom Kim’s Convenience on CBC, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was in for when I attended this play on Oct. 22. Although I had some insight into what to expect due to my preview article, nothing could have prepared me for the endless laughs that were to come when watching this production.

If you didn’t read my preview, you may not know that the writer of the show Ins Choi starred as the main character, Mr. Kim or “Appa” (Korean for “father”). As Choi took to the Spriet Stage, he showed the audience that he wasn’t only a skilled writer, but also a talented actor.

The curtains open on a convenience store with Mr. Kim (Choi) going through his usual morning routine which includes looking out for illegal parking outside his store.

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The stage represents a true convenience store with its range of items from food items to magazines to school supplies. The attention to detail played a memorable role in this play, right down to the bell chime sound effect when the door for the store opened.

The entire play takes place inside the store. Even when the mother (Vicki Kim) comes to visit the son Jung (Leon Qin) at the church, it was still the convenience store behind them, and the only difference was the dimmed lights. From my understanding, this production showed that there are so many different aspects of life that can take place in the same setting.

Actor Emeka Agada, who played Alex, also played the role of a few characters. In the beginning, he is introduced to the audience as a potential investor that placed an offer on Mr. Kim’s store. Later, Agada portrays a shoplifter in the store while Mr. Kim explains to daughter Janet (Kelly J Seo) some “important business lessons” for when she takes over the store, keeping his legacy alive. Lastly, Agada returns to the stage as a policeman and Jung’s friend, who also ends up dating Janet.

With a total running time of 90 minute, this play brought so many stories to life while keeping the audience laughing throughout.

From Mr. Kim’s dilemma over whether or not to sell his business, to Jung going to church with his mother, to Mr. Kim pushing his dream onto Janet, to Alex and Janet beginning their love story, and finally Mr. Kim and Jung’s reconnection, each situation was touching. I think my favourite part was when Mr. Kim realized that Alex and Janet were thinking about one another in a romantic way. This was hilarious as he forced them to kiss right in front of him and everyone could feel the secondhand embarrassment that Janet faced.

This lighthearted comedy gave an inside look into the Kim family that anyone in the audience was likely to relate to. The beautiful thing about this production was that some of the scenarios that members of the Kim family faced were heartbreaking, but in the end, they always worked out any conflicts that arrived.