- David Kettle
- 8 August 2018
A show that reveals resonance despite a foreboding appearance
With an indecipherable acronym for a title and an esoteric slice of history framing its narrative, this hardly counts as one of the Fringe's most immediately approachable shows. But be not afraid: OTOSOTR is well worth approaching.
Anatoliy Ogay's solo drama with music about Soviet Koreans deported to Kazakhstan who later join the communist struggle against Hitler's armies is a passionate, compelling, stylish show, propelled along by Ogay's magnetic performance. And it's a work that ultimately moves beyond its historical specifics to become a moving, captivating interrogation of family love, cultural identity and technology.
Ogay recounts the tale of his beloved half-deaf grandfather, shipped with thousands of others from a section of Korea that found itself within Soviet borders to landlocked, arid central Asia. He volunteers for brutal Soviet army training on the promise of a better life in Europe, only to find himself the victim of harrowing ordeals and brutal Nazi attacks.
Performing behind and with an electronic keyboard, Ogay uses narration, music and song to convey his powerful monologue, supported by a grid of neon lights that flick evocatively between colours to reflect the show's themes and moods. OTOSOTR is a gripping, revelatory show. Listen hard and you'll even get to hear what its title stands for.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug (not 13), 6.40pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).