Lacking laughs: (from left) Comedians Van Dung, Cong Ly and Quoc Anh perform in HCM City. Audiences are frowning on the quality of scripts and performances in recent comedy shows throughout the city. — VNS File Photo
HCM CITY — An increasing number of comedy plays are organised every night at theatres, bars and music clubs across HCM City, but audiences are not satisfied with the quality of scripts and performances.
The popularity of humorous plays saw many new comedy troupes established in the city during the recent Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, increasing their number to more than 60.
"We want to laugh and relax during the holidays, but we hear lots of swear words in these shows," said Nguyen Van Hoa, the father of a 12-year-old boy.
Hoa said he took his son to a comedy show at a music club on Cach Mang Thang Tam Street in District 3, on the third day of the Lunar New Year.
The show featured a quarrel between a man and his wife in which "both used vulgar language", Hoa said.
"My son laughed along with many people in the audience. But I'm worried that he might learn some bad words from the show," he said.
Hereafter, he would take his son during holidays to theatres that perform serious plays or children's plays rather than comedies, Hoa said.
The theatre at 125 Hai Ba Trung Street in District 1 and Nam Quang Theatre in District 3 are reserved exclusively for comedies, and they're always crowded every night.
"I've seen many interesting comedies at 125 Hai Ba Trung," said long-time patron Nguyen Thi Hai.
She said the topics for many good plays staged at the theatre years ago were taken from stories run in Tuoi Tre Cuoi (Youth Humour) magazine, a sister publication of the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
But the "quality of comedy at the theatre has gone down because of poor quality scripts," Hai said. Morever, "many comedies offer cheap humour".
Hai said she and her family were not able to laugh during a recent play when the actors shouted at each other using coarse language and made rude gestures to poke fun at the girth of female rock star Siu Black.
"I think Siu Black would be sad if she saw the show."
Famous singer Quang Linh said that unfairly poking fun at other artists to make audiences laugh, "reduces the aesthetics of performing arts".
"With many more comedy shows each year, troupes are faced with a shortage of interesting scripts", said Le Quoc Nam, who is himself a comedian and author of many plays for HCM City Television.
Meritorious Artist Hong Van, director of Phu Nhuan Theatre, said: "Theatres are not investing much time and money in comedies which are attracting increasing numbers of young people."
Well known comedian Bao Quoc expressed agreement with the dissatisfied audience, saying that if theatres want to build on the increased popularity for comedy shows, they need to produce plays with better scripts. — VNS