Once again there’s a strong Korean showing at the Fringe this year.
It’s particularly nice to see Modl Theatre in the UK again, this time with three productions. Two of them are geared towards families and children, but the third is a something darker: a new and topical production on the theme of the wartime “comfort women”:
The Dandelion’s Story
A beautiful flower is born with the help of something dirty, trivial and unexpected. Everything has its purpose in the cycle of life. Korean tale for children young and old. Must-see children’s show is back! Adapted by JungSuk Kim from JungSaeng Kwon’s bestselling children’s fairy tale, The Dandelion’s Story has been brought to the stage in this production by Modl theatre of Korea. ‘Modl Theatre triumphs with this very joyful piece with all-age appeal’ (Stage). ‘The performances are faultless, the costumes marvellous, the special effects dazzling; overall, a beautiful production’ **** (ThreeWeeks).
Tiger in Blossom
Modl return to the Fringe with an adaptation of the Korean folktale The Woodcutter and Tiger Brother. A heart-warming story showing the real value of family love through the story of a tiger, a loyal and affectionate friend rather than a scary and frightening animal in Korean folktales. Guaranteed to touch everyone’s heart. This celebrated performance is fresh from the Wow Children’s Book Festival of Korea.
Even now, in this moment, the war does not stop in the world. Its wounds continue even now. What more can we do than to wipe their tears and deliver our love to the roots of the pain. Modl return to the Fringe with a premiere about the comfort women of WWII, keeping the promise never to forget.
AtoBiz return to the Fringe bringing a range of performance groups catering to all tastes:
Group: Gruejarm Production (www.gruejarm.org) | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd.
Cabaret and Variety (family, magic)
Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8)
13:20 | Aug 4-14, 16-21, 23-29 | 1 hour | Book tickets
BBC, ITV, New York Times and Oriental Daily all gave rave reviews to each of the eight artists and directors of the show Snap! A contemporary mystery and magical performance produced by Gruejarm productions. Snap is a multi-faceted art performance based on magic and combining ingenious stage language, illusion, mime, black and white art, comedy, dance and much more. All eight award winning artists bring to life characters such as Alchemist, Digital Time Traveller, Dreamer, Trickster and a host of others to bring you a fantasy experience which has never been seen before in the history of the Fringe.
Singsing Bathtub and Fernando, the Space Elephant
Group: Wiz Production (www.wizproduction.co.kr) | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd.
Children’s Shows (musical theatre, family)
Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17)
12:15 | Aug 4-14, 16-21, 23-29 | 1 hour | Book tickets
A surprise invitation for all adventure seekers! Let’s follow this whimsical crew for the ultimate experience of space. A typical 10-year-old boy and his friends happen to set off on an unexpected journey to space to deliver the baby elephant Fernando’s messages to his mum. While discovering the true colours of various planets, they come closer to their final destination. A heart-warming fairy tale of aspiration, courage and friendship packed with cheerful dancing, singalong songs and 3D projection mapping. An hour is too short for this completely absorbing show!
Group: MAC Theatre (www.mac1986.com) | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd.
Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus (performance art, theatre)
Assembly Hall (Venue 35)
12:00 | Aug 4-21, 23-29 | 55 minutes | Book tickets
A rare cultural occasion brought to the theatre: Korean shamanism engages communication with the heavens, played out on stage. This work compiles Halmi (Korean mask play), breaking the boundaries of tradition with a form of shamanic exorcism known as gut (pronounced ‘goot’). Unhappy souls are appeased and are finally able to leave this world without leaving behind any lingering attachments. These combined performances serve not only to comfort the souls of the dead but also to pray for the safety of the living. ‘A Korean jewel’ (Le Figaro).
Chef: Come Dine With Us!
Group: Persona Inc. (www.bibap.co.kr) | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd.
Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus (comedy, musical theatre)
Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8)
16:00 | Aug 4-14, 16-29 | 1 hour | Book tickets
Perfect satisfaction for all theatre-loving foodies! Two chefs compete with each other to serve you a host of dishes for the eyes. Come and see the ultimate cooking show combined with jaw-dropping beatboxing and B-boying. Talented acrobatic performers with an excellent sense of humour will keep you falling off your chair. Following the smash hits Cookin’ and Jump, the original members come back to Edinburgh with a newly revised cooking show. ‘Pure visual delights!’ ***** (Evening News). ‘Full 60 minutes highlights’ (Scotsman). ‘Fabulous physical fun'(List). ‘Everyone wants to get their hands on it’ (EdinburghSpotlight.com).
Tago: Korean Drum II
Group: Group Tago (www.drumtago.com) | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd.
Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus (performance art, music)
Assembly Hall (Venue 35)
14:55 | Aug 4-16, 18-29 | 1 hour | Book tickets
Leave your stress here and bring back vibrant energy to your life. Exciting, extreme, exhilarating drumming! The ultimate drumming performance from the East comes back to Edinburgh after a huge success of the previous year. A great mixture of Korean traditional instruments varying from gigantic drums to small percussion with a hint of martial arts which will spice up the show with dynamic movements. ‘A colourful fusion of drumming and dance.’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘A must-see show’ (Stage). ‘Sheer joyous exuberance and skill’ (List). ‘High energy entertainment that commands the full attention of the audience’ (EdinburghGuide.com).
EDP and Brush also return. EDP bring a repeat of their modern version of a Shakespeare classic, while Brush bring an adaptation of a Grimm fairy tale – if it’s anything like their previous show it will be thoroughly enjoyable.
The Taming of the Shrew
Theatre (physical theatre, comedy)
C venues – C south (Venue 58)
11:00 | Aug 14-20 | 1 hour | Book tickets
Stunningly original Korean update of the classic play returns to Edinburgh. Confucius meets Shakespeare with a dash of hip hop thrown in for good measure. Petruchio, a patriarch of the Confucian dynasty, tries to tame hip hop Kate into a traditional obedient woman, but who will win in the end? This critically acclaimed worldwide tour returns to Edinburgh. Traditional meets modern as beautiful Korean costumes and instruments fuse with hip hop dance and Western music. But can there ever be harmony between Confucian patriarchalism and feminism? Between West and East? ‘A sure fire winner’ (FringeReview.com).
The Tiniest Frog Prince in the World
In the small world of 30 Inches Aquarium, simple but amazing things are happening. A classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm reimagined for today. Brush Theatre’s clever and humorous production tells the story of a handsome prince who is changed into a frog. Only the kiss from a beautiful princess will reverse the curse. Will the bonds of friendship triumph over a crafty witch? Live action, charming puppetry, exciting video elements. 2014 Asian Arts Award winners. **** (List). ‘Had the audience giggling, gasping and cowering in just the right amounts’ **** (ThreeWeeks).
And finally, three new theatrical productions (including a Shakespeare adaptation), jazz and sculpture:
Group: Oneul Mudae (Korea)
Theatre (comedy, new writing)
C venues – C nova (Venue 145)
18:45 | Aug 5-9 | 1 hour 15 minutes | Book tickets
Two old ladies who have never made an overseas trip hear that their husband, missing for 40 years, has been spotted in Scotland. A story of a great journey, and the lives of two women told through Korean folk songs and old love songs. An unfamiliar land with a language they do not speak, a girl who may be able to help them out, and an enemy who accompanies them. What choice will their man make in the end?
The Song of Beast (after Hamlet)
Group: Theatre BradHit and Samuel Baguette
Theatre (drama, thriller) (in Korean, with surtitles)
C venues – C south (Venue 58)
17:15 | Aug 4-29 | 1 hour 45 minutes | Book tickets
Hamlet transported to a slaughterhouse in modern-day South Korea. While it appears to be an ordinary slaughterhouse from the outside, it is in fact a perfectly controlled place, where powerful men butcher and execute their opponents. Painting a picture of extreme violence and wicked plans carried out by beast-like men, and one boy seeking an escape.
Black and White Tea Room
Group: Theatre Huam
Theatre (drama) (in Korean, with surtitles)
Paradise in The Vault (Venue 29)
11:35 | Aug 6-20 | 1 hour | Book tickets
Our play Black and White Tea Room was first performed in 2014. It has been awarded Best Picture Award, Play Award and a Best Actor Award at the Two-Hander Festival. In 2015, the play was awarded Best Picture Award and Best Actor Award by the Seoul Theatrical Grand Award, and was also awarded Best Actor Award and Special Award at Mil-Yang Summer Festival Awards and the Tokyo Tiny-Alice Festival.
Jeeseok Kim East-West Quartet
Group: Korean Culture and Content Agency
Music (jazz, world music)
The Jazz Bar (Venue 57)
20:30 | Aug 16, 26 | 1 hour | Book tickets
Acclaimed Korean/New Orleans saxophonist Jeeseok’s funky, melodic, energetic quartet brings Miles Davies, Coltrane and Ella up to date, with a sprinkle of Korean folk music too! Also featuring Seoul-based, world-travelling Scots pianist Paul Kirby. ‘Exceptional entertainment!’ (Korea Times).
This exhibition celebrates diversity in contemporary art through a collection of works by award-winning artists of international repute. Highlights include provocative extracts from the Renaissance Series by American photographer Freddy Fabris, expressive captivating portraits by German painter Valeria Becker, joyful sculptures by prominent South Korean artist Youn, vibrant Perspex layered works by Scottish artist Richard Strachan, as well as remarkable landscapes by French painter Benoît Trimborn, among many others.
And, for the record, a late entrant made their return, for one performance only it seems:
Ongals Babbling Comedy
With breathtaking magic, effortless circus and formidable beatboxing skills, Ongals will have you laughing your hat off, even if you don’t know why. A high-energy physical comedy spectacular to tickle the funny bone of every age, this wave of K-Comedy is truly side-splitting fun for all generations and a show you won’t want to miss! ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ***** (FringeReview.co.uk). ****½ (Herald Sun).