Rhythm Of The Drums: Song Of The Cicada
Show but no tell
This article is from 2010.
The title is a little misleading: drumming is but a small part of this showcase of traditional music and dance from the minority Dong and Miao peoples of southwest China.
The series of virtuoso displays, from the furious Wood Drum Dance to love songs accompanied by guitars, violins or unusual woodwind instruments made out of bamboo, are infectiously enjoyable. But frustratingly, as there’s no narrative to the show, or even an introduction, all the songs and dances are performed entirely without context or background.
Highlights include a rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ played exquisitely on a leaf, and a cheeky mating ritual in which the singing is passed back and forth between the men and women. But the real stars of the show are the glorious costumes, particularly the elaborate silver headdresses, belts and necklaces worn by the female performers, their fronds making a cheerful, shimmery percussive jangle as they dance.
New Town Theatre, 220 0143, until 23 Aug (not 18), 1.40pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).