Butterfly (4 stars)

This article is from 2015


Credit: Ross Gilmore

A beautiful blend of movement and puppetry communicates a tragic spiral of grief

Written, directed and starring Ramesh Meyyappan, Butterfly is a mesmerising piece of physical theatre. Without saying a single word, the show tells the story of Butterfly, a female kite maker and the two men who desire her.

Set to an emotive score of piano and violin, the three person cast use tender gestures and open facial expressions to capture blossoming romance. This is then juxtaposed against the brutal and frenzied movements of ferocious jealousy. Extracts of previous movement sequences intrude on the present, creating an inventive illustration of how Butterfly is tormented by her violent memories.

In the later stages of the play, a puppet of a young boy is introduced. Manipulated by the two men he is initially adorably playful, wriggling his limbs as Butterfly tickles him. But his blank features take on a more sinister nature as his curiosity appears increasingly calculated against her.

The performance is rich in symbolism, the central character as beautiful and fragile as her namesake. Initially joyful and independent, she creates and flies colourful kites, but when the men’s attraction twists into violence she becomes trapped in her anguish like so many butterflies in jars on the shelves behind her.

Greenside @ Infirmary Street, 618 6968, until 29 Aug (not 16, 23), 8.45pm, £12 (£10).


  • 4 stars

Ramesh Meyyappan A striking adaptation of Madame Butterfly, exploring themes of love, loss and hope. Told without words, this haunting piece uses visually poetic narrative, handcrafted puppets (by Gavin Glover, National Theatre of Scotland’s A Christmas Carol) and a beautiful score (by David Paul Jones) to tell the tale…