For most westerners, a film in English and Mandarin, about a Chinese girl looking for the love of her life while working in a Chinese laundry in 1960's Liverpool might not be everyone's cup of Chai. However, Frances -Anne Soloman's delightful 1997 romantic comedy Peggy Su! has more charm than any syrupy Richard Curtis fantasy.
Written by Anglo-Chinese playwright Kevin Wong, Peggy Su! tells the story of 19-year-old Peggy (Pam Oei) who arrives from Hong Kong to work in the Chinese laundry run by her brother Jack. Despite having a husband chosen for her by her father (Burt Kwouk), Peggy is determined to marry for love and sets out on a race against time to find her ideal man.
Much of the film concerns Peggy's attempts to find a husband out of her daunting three choices. There's her father's choice, the socially and physically inept cousin Gilbert (Adrian Pang); smoothie Anglicised Chinese restaurateur David (Glen Goei); plus delivery man Terry (Vince Pellegrino), the outsider.
Suki Smith currently making waves in the music industry in her musical guise of Madam plays Rita, Peggy Su's sister in law.
Peggy Su! was the first feature film to receive National Lottery funding with the balance made up by the BBC. Peter Spencer's soundtrack spans a sort of jazzy latin pop with a oriental feel mixed with girly 60's pop. Standout tracks include Peggy Su's Blues and the heart warming Ain't That Funny? Like the movie it's an exotic mix with a magical and happy ending. Joi Geen everyone!