News / Calgary

Nine Dragon's sets up a murder for the Vertigo Stage

Hotshot detective Tommy Lam has a lot to prove

Daniel Chen and John Ng star in Nine Dragons at Vertigo Theatre next week.

Vertigo Theatre

Daniel Chen and John Ng star in Nine Dragons at Vertigo Theatre next week.

There’s a serial killer loose on the seedy side of Kowloon.

Ambitious Chinese police detective Tommy Lam is on the case, but he can only get so far under the corruption and prejudice of his superiors.

Starting next week, Vertigo Theatre will host the world premiere of Nine Dragons, a 1920s murder mystery featuring Kim’s Convenience star John Ng as detective Tommy Lam.

“It’s a really solid crime thriller and allows us to get a bit of cultural diversity on our stage – which in the genre, frankly, has been challenging,” said Vertigo artistic director Craig Hall.

“We want to be an accessible company for all of Calgarians. We want everybody in Calgary to see themselves, at some point, on the stage. We just want to make sure the stage mystery genre is keeping up with the rest of the world in the times and the changing face of Calgary.”

Written by Jovanni Sy, the play is the result of a four-year collaboration between Vertigo, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Gateway Theatre.

John Ng.

Vertigo Theatre

John Ng.

Ng’s character Lam is a good detective, but on a colonial police force, he’s often kept down by the higher ups. He’s trying to hunt a serial killer, but his superiors aren’t even paying attention.

“Then suddenly a white woman is killed, everything is upended and the whole force is suddenly on this case,” Hall explained. “Tommy is pushed aside. He gets booted off the force because of his attitude, and finds his own way to solve the crime.”

Ng has been involved with the production from nearly the beginning, before he was cast on Kim’s Convenience, and has put a lot of work into the character.

“It’s the other Asian male lead, who is sort of the bad guy – he’s the one we searched across the country to find,” said Hall. “We found this really great, young guy out of Winnipeg.”

That would be Daniel Chen, who is acting in his first major professional gig after graduating from university.

Nine Dragon’s opens on Sept. 16. Visit for more information.

After Calgary, the play goes to Manitoba and British Columbia.

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