Taiwan Season: Heart of Darkness (3 stars)

Taiwan Season: Heart of Darkness

Pei-Fen Low evokes the spirit of her grandmother in this dark piece about a woman's destiny

This arresting solo from Taiwanese company Sun Son Theatre is intensified by the presence of four live musicians who flank the stage, creating a rare, unsettling cloud of sounds. Gongs, plucked strings, blood-curdling roars from the throat all underscore Pei-Fen Low's careful movement, as she tries to invoke an image of her grandmother, whom, we are told via a programme note, was sent to another village to marry and not allowed to choose her own path.

Brimming with a melancholy and sometimes violent force, dressed in red silk that melts into brown hems and with a plait as long as a tree root, Low paints a picture of anguish. She walks the tightrope of her own plait, coiled around the stage. She bangs a drum on her back and somersaults over it in a wild display of self-assertion.

In the final section, she sits calmly, reciting the note about her grandmother we were given at the start, while the others paint her face, dress her, veil and crown her. She seems alone onstage; though surrounded by four others, they can't communicate directly with her. In her final, blindfolded walk through the auditorium she is serene but vulnerable.

Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 21), 3.15pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10)

Taiwan Season: Heart of Darkness

  • 3 stars

Sun Son Theatre Taipei-based Sun Son Theatre fuses instrument, voice, body, drama, ritual and environment with traditional and folk elements, symbolic objects and contemporary theatre to explore the inner self. Its work is characterised by an organic performance energy free from racial and cultural boundaries. Long…

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