Korean performers at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe

Fringe 2015

Once again, there is a strong representation of Korean performers at the 2015 Fringe. And scheduling clashes mean that if you want to get to all of the performances you need to allow three days – here’s a screenshot of LKL’s event calendar for peak time at the Fringe to prove it:

LKL event calendar

Here’s some thoughts to assist in your planning.

A couple of the acts have appeared in recent years (Brush, Leodo); and you can catch Leodo and The Cherry Orchard at the KCCUK at the end of July if you can’t make it up to Edinburgh. Brush is also showing at Kingston Welcomes Korea during the first week of August. If you take advantage of these previews, you can cover the acts in Edinburgh in two days.

Of the remainder, LKL’s picks would be

  • One Fine Day – choreographer Lee Insoo’s Modern Feeling was performed at The Place in 2010. It manages to be moving, funny and very true all at once; and
  • Korean Breath… I’m not quite sure what trance-fusion is, but I’m sure I can easily get into the zone. According to Indieful RoK, SE:UM were nominated both for Best Crossover Album and Best Jazz & Crossover Performance at this year’s Korea Music Awards, so it’s sounding very tempting.

Taming of the Shrew looks intriguing too, as a Confucian scholar tries to tame an unruly B-girl. But it’s often the case with the Fringe that the shows you expect to be luke-warm about are the ones that blow you away, so try them all. If so, be prepared to do some walking. Here’s an annotated Google map showing roughly where the Korean performances are:

Edinburgh map annotated

One thing I find puzzling about some of these groups is their inability to choose a name and stick with it. The troupe performing Brush is branded as Brush Theatre LLC for the purposes of Edinburgh, but down in Kingston and in previous years they’ve been Theatre Haddangse; Norian Maro, the performers of Leodo, are now just plain Maro; and I have given up trying to track whether the different names associated with Korea National University of the Arts represent one contemporary dance group or several.

But whatever they call themselves, there’s plenty to look forward to here.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015

https://tickets.edfringe.com/

Brush

BrushChildren’s Shows (family, performance art)
Group: BRUSH Theatre LLC | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd
Assembly Roxy (2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU)
11:00 Aug 6-17, 19-30
55 minutes Book here

Brush is a delightful and innovative Korean family show. Paintings are created live on stage and brought to life right before your eyes. They tell a bewitching story filled with weird and wonderful characters through live music, dance, fanciful puppets and a company of engaging performers. Brush has won multiple awards including Triple Crowns for acting and direction from the Kimcheon National Festival, the Children’s Theatre Festival in Assitej as well as at the Korea and Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it received the Asian Arts Award for Best Production.

The Taming of the Shrew

ShrewTheatre (physical theatre, comedy)
Group: EDP
C venues – C south (St Peter’s, Lutton Place, EH8 9PE)
11:00 Aug 17-22
1 hour Book here

A stunningly original Korean update of the classic play. 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 comes 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?

One Fine Day

One Fine DayDance, Physical Theatre and Circus (contemporary, dance)
Group: EDx2 Dance Company | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd
Assembly Hall (Mound Place, EH1 2LU) ​
12:00 Aug 6-11, 13-16, 18-23, 25-31
1 hour Book here

One of Korea’s most celebrated contemporary dance companies, who have toured to over 30 countries, make their UK debut with a double bill of two of their most acclaimed works. The movement drama Modern Feeling delicately captures the first encounter, conflict, indifference, competition and harmony between two dancers. What We’ve Lost playfully and imaginatively reminds us of all the things we’ve forgotten from our own ordinary lives, with characters familiar to everyone. ‘Funny, tender, aggressive, athletic and mesmerizing’ (Republican, Massachusetts).

Korean Breath

Korean-breathMusic (jazz, world music)
Group: SE:UM
C venues – C (Chambers Street, EH1 1HR)
12:55 Aug 16-22
45 minutes Book here

The arrival of this Korean trance-fusion presents a stunning musical experience like you’ve never heard before! SE:UM continue the traditions of ethnic Korean music, but are also aware they are living in the 21st century, as they immerse themselves in modern music. Traditional sounds are mixed with jazz, folk, and freeform style to create an entirely new and exciting fusion. With its auditory and visual spectacle, this exotic experience has received increasing acclaim from audiences worldwide. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to witness one of Korea’s top fusion bands.

Leodo: The Paradise

LeodoDance, Physical Theatre and Circus (world music, musical theatre)
Group: Maro | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd
Assembly George Square Studios (George Square, EH8 9LH) ​
14:00 Aug 6-30
1 hour Book here

Magical Korean performance combining powerful drums with healing dances. An energetic and multi-talented cast transports you into the past and conjures Leodo, the fantasy island treasured by the Jeju people. Reviving Kut, an indigenous Korean shamanic séance arts dating back about 5,000 years, Leodo presents their artistic nirvana where one’s sorrow is taken away by joy of arts. With dynamic rhythms, beautiful dances, and colourful costumes, the performance generates an exciting atmosphere where boundaries between performers and audiences are euphorically crossed. Inspiring, exciting for everyone!
‘One of ten unmissable shows 2013’ ***** (VoiceofJeju). **** (Stage[/I]). **** (BritishTheatreGuide.info).

Pan

PanTheatre (performance art, traditional)
Group: KTDI | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd
Assembly Hall (Mound Place, EH1 2LU) ​
14:30 Aug 6-8, 10-16, 18-23, 25-31
1 hour Book here

PAN is a Korean word meaning ‘festival’. Thrilling audiences with a fusion of modern and traditional drumming and dance, PAN excites your senses with its colourful exuberance and folksy sensibility. A passionate celebration of life, this spectacular dance-drama commands all your attention with its explosion of movement and its symphony of drums. Performed by a cast of 12 virtuoso artists who dance and drum simultaneously, this beautiful production by KTDI (Korea Tourism Development Institute) has been hailed as a masterpiece the world over.

The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the Truth

Cherry orchardTheatre (drama, physical theatre)
Group: Theater Margot
C venues – C nova (India Buildings, Victoria Street, EH1 2EX)
14:40 Aug 5-17, 19-24, 26-31
50 minutes Book here

International award-winning physical theatre company from South Korea put their own avant-garde stamp on Chekhov’s classic. Hopelessly in debt, the Gayev family are forced to sell their beloved estate, and see the cherry orchard cut down. Visual and compelling 21st-century take on the story of how shifts in society deeply affect us all, and what happens to those who cannot keep pace with change. An entertaining and thought-provoking classic story that is still strikingly relevant today.

Lotto

LottoTheatre (comedy, magic)
Group: The Patron | Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd
Assembly George Square Studios (George Square, EH8 9LH) ​
15:30 Aug 30-31
1 hour Book here

While buying a lottery ticket, an overworked office worker meets a host of Wizard of Oz-esque characters. The magic act of buying the ticket and the kerfuffle that follows is a kaleidoscopic revelation of the characters’ dreams. This fantastic journey features a team of amazing illusionists, including Juno Moon, who recently won the prestigious Magic Association of FISM Award. The Alchemist meets Charlie Chaplin, wrapped in a narrative bubble worthy of a scene from Taxi Driver. Produced and developed by the creators of the Fringe hits Cookin’ (aka Nanta) and Jump.

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