Korean Drum: Journey of a Soul
Dance to the rhythm of life
This article is from 2011.
Sometimes words are not required. Sometimes a single performer beating a frenetic rhythm on a drum suspended from an ornate frame is enough to raise the hairs on your arm. For those who love a bit of variety in their Fringe life, though, this showcase of the best in traditional and modern Korean percussion has something for everyone.
Each sequence showcases a different instrument, and consequently a fresh mood and style, whether that be the relentless thundering hooves of seven large barrels playing at once or the light, playful tones of the smaller hand-held drums.
As well as the virtuosity of the 20-strong troupe of performers, the precision of the choreography, by Korea’s most famous dancer, Soo-Ho Kook, also greatly impresses. Many of the routines incorporate accessories and items of clothing, from fans to swishing skirts, tassels and ribbons dangling from hats, to enhance the percussive rhythms.
Admittedly there’s little in the way of a narrative here, beyond the rituals and traditions behind the music, and there’s not much attempt to reach out to the audience apart from one moment of offbeat humour in the plate-spinning section. But for sheer joyous exuberance and skill there’s little to beat this show.
Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 29 Aug (not 15, 22), 4pm, £13–£15 (£11–£13).