above: Dragon – Photo by © Drew Farrell
Review by Jo Tomalin
Visually stunning and beautifully performed by the ensemble of seven actors, Dragon explores themes of telling the truth and staying silent. Vox Motus, National Theatre of Scotland, and Tianjin People’s Art Theatre (China) present Dragon – a spectacular piece of theatre without words for adults, teenagers and children, marking the first co-production between the three companies.
Directors Jamie Harrison and Candice Edmunds, and Designer Jamie Harrison have developed an exceptionally creative production, which received a well-deserved ovation on opening night, August 14, at the Edinburgh International Festival 2015.
After losing his mother the character Tommy experiences fear, grief and bullying. Trying to deal with everything unsuccessfully on his own, a friendly dragon becomes his guide to help him. The dragon is a shape shifter – arriving when least expected and looking slightly different each time.
The wonderful ensemble of seven actors (Martin McCormick, Joanne McGuinness, Scott Miller, Amanda Wright, Gavin Jon Wright, Kai Zhang and Yan Tao) play authentic and compelling characters, supported by outstanding physical acting skills – and they manipulate puppets and props with precision. Without any spoken words the actors use their physicality to emote subtly. This is very effective storytelling and what is so special is that the physical acting is very pure –with no mime, exaggeration or pretend speaking – these actors do not need words.
Design for every part of this production is excellent! Harrison’s gorgeous Set Design is like pages in a picture book…dark blue sky, silhouettes of houses, huge stuffed clouds that change from white to dark grey. Tables, beds and doorways glide on by the actors with some genius staging.
Lighting Design by Simon Wilkinson is dramatic and unifies the design of the play perfectly. Music composed by Tim Philips underscores throughout and has a filmic quality that moves the story forward and complements the action. Mark Melville’s Sound design includes clever sound effects matching the action. Puppets designed by Harrison and Guy Bishop are awesome, have remarkable movement and are built with a variety of textured materials. Don’t miss this show – it’s absolutely enchanting.
Tickets and More Information:
Performances: Fri 14 & Sat 15 Aug 7pm, Sat 15 Aug 2pm, Sun 16 Aug 12noon & 4pm
Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh
+44 (0)131 473 2000