“Stage of Love” Series Review (Ep.1 to 10)

I absolutely enjoyed this short BL series for its entertainment value. It was charming, sweet, enduring and had a surprisingly good message and story. It is a simple tale of individuals falling in love, experiencing unrequited feelings and overcoming jealousy. Furthermore, it is told clearly and effectively with great dialogue.

Bao (Harry Du) is a freshman who along with his friend, Huan (Ngoc Thach) joins the drama club to earn points for university activities. The university drama club is recreating the tragic romance between Romeo and Juliet. Bao is chosen to play the role of Romeo. To make this a success, the club president, Khanh (Kaycey) solicits the help of a former club member who performed the role of Romeo before. His name is Nguyen (Gia Huy). Unfortunately, he is a tortured soul who feels guilty about an incident that occurred to a fellow member years ago while performing this same play. While he reluctantly joins the production, he is drawn to Bao. Bao is this boyish looking guy who knows more than his innocent looking face displays. He is sweet, caring, thoughtful, and just plain nice. He is a loyal friend and displays a charming personality. Honestly, it would be hard not to like him in real life. Nguyen, on the other hand, is pensive, withdrawn, serious, and not a particularly happy person. There is a slow, steady drip of feelings that develops between Nguyen and Bao, with Bao taking a slightly longer time to realize it. (There is such a cute and endearing scene when Bao suddenly listens to Nguyen’s heart to see if he is lying about his feelings).

There is also a side love story between Khanh and her boyfriend Hy (Quoc Lam). These two are absolutely adorable together and there is such a sincerity in their acting that makes their relationship so believable. Khanh is the love of Hy’s live and he portrays that so beautifully in his dorky, boyish and innocent ways. You simply cannot help but love all these characters. The only real sinister character here is Duc, played by Isan. I will not spoil the story as to what makes him so deliciously evil, but it does have something to do with the element of unrequited love. There are two supplemental episodes to this series that you should definitely watch. It fills in the missing gaps in the story.

One in particular is the story of unrequited love between Bao and his friend Huan. Ngoc Thach portrays his part of Huan in such a stunningly beautiful and hauntingly realistic manner, that I felt deeply for this character. It was a charismatic and should have been part of the main series, as it is very important to the overall flow of this drama. It is so brilliantly done, that I am so sorry it was not a stand-alone episode in this series, perhaps as a flash-back. It was that good. For me, there is nothing more romantic and deeply sad than an unrequited love. (Most of us have been there and got through it which makes it so relatable). I really do wish this unrequited relationship had a more pivotal role in this series.

The screenplay in this show was indeed very good. There are some great dialogues here, such as when Nguyen says to Bao, “Who excuses themselves, accuses themselves”. That is a great line and so true. When Nguyen confesses his love of Bao to his friend, Hy, he speaks with utter conviction,

“With these feeling [of love], I feel like I’m walking on sand. I tried to step lightly, but every footstep I left, it’s still very deep”.

What a great metaphor. This is some excellent writing, and it is extremely well delivered.

All these actors are so adorable, handsome, beautiful, and convincing. The main actors are charming and believable. This show is relatable and was so much fun to watch. It is certainly not deep and just whispers of intense connections. It does appear that the actors could have gotten deeper into their characters, but the overall production seemed hesitant to add real intensity to the roles. However, the character of Huan does go deeper than the other ones. In the end, there is a romantic gesture on the part of Nguyen that breaks down his own wall of inhibitions and shows Bao that he is sincere in wanting a relationship. While they do have a nice kissing scene here, it is not very intense and seemed a bit uncomfortable for both actors. Nonetheless, I did (or maybe wanted to) believe it. (After watching some interviews, apparently, this was Harry’s {Bao} first onscreen kiss with a guy. Indeed, that was obvious).

I liked this series for its simplistic approach. It does have some sound inconsistencies. Occasionally, the actors sounded faint. The series is short, so it is easy to watch and do not skip the two supplemental episodes. You do not want to miss the chronicle of Huan. That added to the story adjunctly. This BL series, while not as in-depth as others from Vietnam, is undoubtedly still entertaining. It just feels that they were perhaps trying too hard to emulate Thai BL’s as it has the same kind of feel to it.

Rating – 4 out of 5

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One thought on ““Stage of Love” Series Review (Ep.1 to 10)”

  1. Nice to see a review of this cute series. I liked the concept of tying in Romeo and Juliet into current life events- though I thought the execution of these ideas into plot were not always realized. I also had a problem with technical issues and the stiffness of most of the actors- especially the two who were supposed to be stars of the theatre club: Nguyen and Khanh.
    I think they all showed potential and I would gladly rewatch this over something like Nitiman.
    The highlight for me was that actor playing Hy- hope he gets more chances as he made a terrific debut. And agree the stand alone episodes were highlights:)

    Like

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