Tago: Korean Drum II
Tago thunders with energy, creating a noisy treat for the whole family
This article is from 2016.
This celebration of Korean drumming kicks off rather solemnly: a lone man, a black box, two sticks beating with fiendish precision a simple regular tattoo that builds into layers of pitch and rhythm. The rest of the cast emerges through the theatre bearing gongs and a singing bowl, repeating a hypnotic hymn. The serious, spiritual atmosphere seems entirely in keeping with the black tunics, shadowy lighting and indeed the fierceness with which the following soloist thunders his moon-huge drum into a frenzy.
But after this he turns around and we're faced with a smiling performer introducing himself and telling us a bit about his instrument. This fourth-wall busting cheerful chat continues throughout the show, punctuating the discipline, skill and force with humour, demystifying the spectacle into its social context, even while the drumming and the movements continue to feel mesmerising.
Tago means 'lighting up the world by beating drums' and by the end the six members of the company have certainly whipped their small stage into a carnival of Korean traditions, dextrously flinging streamers around their heads, hammering their drums with flair and abandon.
It all feels raucously enjoyable – even the couple next to me who had accidentally ended up in the wrong show were on their feet applauding.
Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 29 Aug, 2.55pm, £12–£13 (£11–£12).