Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Back in the Box
First up was another in the Korean season, Binari.
I knew it was going to be a Korean mask play with 'shamanic exorcism where unhappy souls are entertained and are finally able to leave the world'. I thought it might be a bit dark. It was anything but. Song, dance, drum, and even lots of humour - I was reminded of the various theatre performances I went to see when I was living in South East Asia. Always, there were comedy interludes in even the most serious and traditional stories. Binari was great. It was a charming way to start my day.
I've seen four shows in the Korean season. All were different, and all really enjoyable.
It is about what it means to be British. The women have been called to an interview to ascertain if they qualify for benefits. Sara 'looks kind of Asian'. Scheherazade looks Middle Eastern. And Sarah is 'kind of white'.
I was sitting beside a visitor from New York. I'm not sure if she would have caught the subtlety of all the political references, and she must have wondered just what I was guffawing at. Very funny at times. It was extremely well acted, and definitely thought provoking. You don't need to be bribed by packets of crisps to go and see, and enjoy, this performance. Full marks.
So, that was me batting two from two for the day. What next?
Right then, three from three. I had time for one more show before catching the train home.
The show tackles the modern day refugee crisis with those fleeing Africa across the Mediterranean to Europe. The performance switches amongst three groups of actors, the people traffickers in Libya in this instance, the refugees themselves, and a group of EU commissioners. The performance does not hold back on satirical condemnation of these last. Very funny, and very well acted!
There are very moving scenes depicting the journey of those fleeing their homes, and their reasons for so doing. I'll not spoil it by giving details. You have to see it.
Great theatre should be memorable. This was. I certainly will not read newspaper stories or watch television reports of the refugee crisis again without thinking of 'The Ark'. A powerful theatre performance which was absolutely first class.
First Monkey Theatre Company's website is here, if you want to find out more about them, and an article about how 'The Ark' performance was put together is here. There's only a few more days to catch the show, 6.20pm until the 27th.
Four from four. Days at the Fringe don't get better than this!
Images from flyers, and photos © Skip Cottage