Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe

Here you can find reviews, notices and other coverage of Korean performances at the UK’s leading arts festival

I make it that there are eleven Korean or Korea-related performances at this year’s Fringe, plus one workshop. It’s nice that Brush Theatre are putting in their regular appearance – always popular with the younger audience – and we have newcomers such as Korean-American stand-up comedian Olivia Rhee and, from Kazakhstan, telling the story of […]

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Edinburgh Fringe showcase at Sadlers Wells

by Events Editor 16 July 2018
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Following the success of last year’s Fringe preview, once again Sadler’s Wells hosts a night showcasing some of the Korean acts before they head to Edinburgh. Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 London Showcase 19:00, Friday 27 July 2018 (followed by a post-show reception) Lilian Baylis Studio | Sadler’s Wells | Rosebery Avenue | London, EC1R 4TN […]

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Fringe Review: After 4 – Over the Moon

by Philip Gowman 1 September 2017
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Sometimes, no matter how much I might be bowled over by a performance, I cannot put into words what I found so stunning about it. So it is with Yoo Sun-hoo’s work After 4: Over the Moon. Part of the magic of the piece is the peaceful, poignant music that provides the accompaniment, performed live […]

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Fringe review: Monkey Dance

by Philip Gowman 31 August 2017
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This is a fun musical in which eight incredibly energetic and athletic performers leap around on stage to the musical accompaniment of a quintet of vocalists, beat-boxer and bass. There’s a loose story-line (not that it matters too much as the emphasis is on the music and action) in which an explorer comes to the […]

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Brief Fringe review: Behind the Mirror

by Philip Gowman 31 August 2017
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The Fringe version of Behind the Mirror, at 1 hour, is half an hour shorter than the full version that has successfully been performed in Korea for many years. In the version presented at the Fringe, the tale of Princess Pyonggang and General Ondal is told very briefly before a parallel story is told in […]

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Brief Fringe review: Mind Goblin

by Philip Gowman 31 August 2017
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Mind Goblin is a mysterious half-hour solo accompanied by a quiet, watery soundtrack. Sometimes serene, sometimes descending into madness, the solitary dancer / choreographer Lee Kyung-eun manages to retain our attention throughout the piece despite the lack of obvious rhythm to the music. The most striking moment comes when the soloist coughs up black liquid […]

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Fringe review: Ensemble SU — The Party

by Philip Gowman 31 August 2017
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Ensemble SU is a five-piece fusion group formed in 2010 and led by Jihye “JJ” Hur on 25-string gayageum with Yein Kim on haegeum, Myunghyun Park on cello, Sangjung Lee on keyboard and Deokhwan Kim playing Korean and western percussion (and not to be confused with a similarly named jazz / gugak fusion trio based […]

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Fringe review: Kokdu – The Soul Mate

by Philip Gowman 30 August 2017
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Intended to be a simple morality tale about respect for the dead and dying, as well as an exposition of Korean folk and shamanistic beliefs about burial customs and the afterlife, this ambitious production combines strong visuals and colourful costumes with storytelling that is an uncomfortable mixture of seriousness and slapstick. Sometimes it’s good to […]

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Gossip and impressions from the Fringe

by Philip Gowman 28 August 2017
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Before I get down to the serious business of writing up a few reviews of the shows I got to see, here is a round-up of random thoughts and gossip The performers’ work is never done… It’s never really dawned on me before how hard the performance teams work when they are in Edinburgh. Their […]

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Fringe 2017: two early recommendations

by Philip Gowman 30 July 2017
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To help give a taste of the range of Korean talent at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, the KCC hosted a showcase of four of the acts, at the Lilian Baylis Studio. Of these, the stand-out performances were Behind the Mirror and Black and White Tea Room — Counsellor. LKL went along to the event hoping […]

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Korean performers at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe

by Events Editor 16 June 2017
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A detailed mining of the Edinburgh Fringe website reveals twenty Korean performances plus one talk this year. Magic show Snap makes a return, along with the ever-popular drum show Tago, both part of a “Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd” – who also bring new acts Kokdu and Ensemble Su. I must say I’m a […]

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Fringe visit: The Tiniest Frog Prince in the World

by Philip Gowman 24 August 2016
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I was feeling grumpy when I went into this show and had decided I was not going to enjoy it. I had rushed to get there having just got off the train. It had started late, and if it overran I wasn’t going to have time to get to the next show. And I’m not […]

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Fringe visit: Girl

by Philip Gowman 24 August 2016
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Modl Theatre Company is perhaps best known in this country for its work aimed at younger audiences, but it is a diverse company which also engages with more adult material too. And you can’t get much more adult than a graphic description of the surgical procedure that the Japanese forced upon young Korean girls so […]

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Fringe visit: Dandelion’s Story

by Philip Gowman 24 August 2016
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What on earth makes a theatre company think that creating a piece about doggy poo is a good idea? How do you persuade an actress that taking on the role of a talking turd is a big break for her? Well, firstly, this production is aimed at children, and kids of all ages find poo […]

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Fringe visit: Tiger in Blossom

by Philip Gowman 24 August 2016
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This is a simple retelling for children of the Korean folk tale of the Tiger and the Woodcutter, in which a woodcutter, about to be killed by a tiger in the forest, persuades the beast that he used to be human, and is in fact his elder brother. The initially sceptical tiger eventually falls for […]

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Fringe visit: The Song of Beast (after Hamlet)

by Philip Gowman 24 August 2016
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Imagine Hamlet scripted / co-directed by Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy), Ryu Seung-wan (Veteran / Unjust) and Yoon Jong-bin (Nameless Gangster), with dialogue input from Yang Ik-joon (Breathless), and music by Cho Young-wook (Oldboy) and you’re starting to get close what this production is like. The setting is moved from Denmark to an abattoir which has a […]

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Fringe visit: Chef – Come Dine with Us

by Philip Gowman 24 August 2016
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A Korean physical theatre / comedy performance involving cooking? Does that sound like Nanta? Well, yes. We loved Nanta when it came to Kingston and were happy to see what this seemingly very similar show had to offer. Judging by the poster, it certainly had a thoroughly ripped male torso to entice you. The scenario […]

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