Starring Clé Bennett, Ins Choi, Esther Jun, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon. Written by Ins Choi. Directed by Weyni Mengesha. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, to July 4.
That urban institution, the Korean mom-and-pop corner store, finally gets its due with Kim’s Convenience. Already an award-winning hit for Soulpepper, Ins Choi’s witty, heartwarming comedy/drama captures a momentous day in the life of a Regent Park store owner and his family. As Mr. Kim (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) quarrels with his adult daughter (Esther Jun), who is refusing to take over the store when he retires, his wife (Jean Yoon) secretly meets with their long-estranged son (Choi), now an unhappy car-rental agent in Parkdale. If the plot is predictable, Choi’s dialogue is frequently hilarious and his characters are drawn with oodles of affection. Especially Mr. Kim, a former teacher in Korea who retains a pedagogue’s manner (and displays some wicked martial arts skills). He’s embodied wonderfully by Lee, in a performance that has “Dora Award” written all over it. The actor gets excellent support from his co-stars, directed with zest by Weyni Mengesha on Ken MacKenzie’s assiduously detailed convenience-store set. TV producers take note: Kim’s Convenience has the potential to make a successful homegrown sitcom.