Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus review: Luocha Land

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: There's no shortage of drama in this highly physical show from the National Theatre of China.

C (Venue 34)


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Twelve passionate performers deliver the tale of Maji, a young man who washes up on the fictional island of Luocha after a plane crash, and has to battle all manner of masked demons to find his way home.

The show works best when Zhenzi Tian’s atmospheric score and Miao Zhao’s astute direction come together to produce moments of real theatre. Most of which feature the entire ensemble, working together to create dynamic tableaux and scenes of dramatic peril. During these moments, we don’t need words – the visual spectacle, replete with intricate masks and puppets, is more than enough to keep us absorbed.

The problem lies in the scenes containing dialogue, when even the synopsis in the programme, and occasional backscreen slides of translated text, just aren’t enough to convey the storyline to an English-speaking audience. I’ll confess that at least 50 per cent of the narrative was completely lost on me.

And yet this is less of a problem than you might imagine; passion and precision in physical theatre going a long way to plug any gaps in narrative clarity.

Until 12 August. Today 5:50pm.