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Theatre / Adrift In Macao

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Adrift in Macao is a loving musical parody of Film Noir movies by Christopher Durang and Peter Melnick. It premiered in 2002 at the New York Stage and Film Company at Vassar College, and opened Off-Broadway in 2007 at Primary Stages.

The play is set in 1952 in Macao, China, and features an assortment of standard film noir characters, as well as songs, quips, puns, and farcical shenanigans.


  • Mitch - An American who has been framed for murder by the mysterious Mr. McGuffin.
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  • Lureena - A gorgeous woman in an evening gown, hired to be a singer at Rick Shaw's club.
  • Tempura - The Asian piano player at Rick Shaw's club.
  • Corinna - The previous singer at Rick Shaw's club.
  • Rick Shaw - The cynical owner of a surf and turf casino in Macao.
  • Joe - The bartender at Rick Shaw's club.
  • Daisy - The cigarette girl at Rick Shaw's club.

This musical contains examples of:

  • Addiction Displacement: In the end, Corinna kicks her opium addiction thanks to tranquilizers.
  • The Casino: Rick Shaw's club has one in the back.
  • Cat Fight: After battling it out on stage ("Pretty Moon Over Macao" and "Mambo Malaysian"), Corinna and Lureena brawl.
  • Clear Their Name: Mitch arrives in Macao in search of Mr. McGuffin, hoping to clear his name.
  • Counterpoint Duet: Lureena sings "Pretty Moon Over Macao", Corinna sings "Mambo Malaysian", and then they end up singing both songs simultaneously.
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  • The '50s: Set in 1952, and including specific references to '50s culture.
  • Frame-Up: Mitch was framed for murder by Mr. McGuffin.
  • "I Am" Song: "In a Foreign City" and "Grumpy Mood"
  • Inscrutable Oriental: Sometimes Tempura plays up this stereotype. Other times, he objects and claims to be "very scrutable".
  • Literalist Snarking: Tempura does this when Mitch offers him "a knuckle sandwich".
  • Living MacGuffin: Named Mr. McGuffin, appropriately enough.
  • Master of Disguise: Mr. McGuffin is eventually revealed to be this.
  • Medium Awareness: Examples include:
    • Lureena mentions that another character will probably see her around because "it's a small cast."
    • The actor who plays Rick gives the musicians sheet music and insists on singing "Rick's Song".
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: The docks of Macao.
  • Our Acts Are Different: As written, this is a one-act show.
  • Punny Name:
    • Rick Shaw answers when Lureena is calling for a rickshaw.
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    • Tempura is so named because he has been "battered by life".
  • Speak of the Devil: Corinna and Tempura warn Mitch not to mention Mr. McGuffin.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Corinna says she wants "pancakes" when she means opium.
  • Villain Song: When the identity of Mr. McGuffin is revealed, Tempura sings "I'm Actually Irish".