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Taiwan Season at EdFringe: 2019 Reviews

  • Publish Date:2019-09-01
Taiwan Season at EdFringe: 2019 Reviews

Offering three weeks of nonstop performances from Aug. 2 through 26, the 72nd Edinburgh Festival Fringe saw participation by international troupes hailing from 63 nations including Taiwan. It was the world's largest art festival where performers strove to showcase the cultural prowess of their respective countries over the course of three weeks.


Organized by the Ministry of Culture, the 6th edition of the "Taiwan Season" program at Edinburgh Festival Fringe featured Shinehouse Theatre's eponymous adaptation of writer Hwang Chun-ming's short novel "Fish," conveying Taiwan's distinctive local culture through sign language; B. Dance's first performance at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, "Floating Flowers"; Chang Dance Theatre and their first in-house creation, "Bout"; and Dua Shin Te Production's exploration of loneliness and confronting one's true self, "Monster."


Reflecting the years of curation and promotion dedicated to establishing the "Taiwan Season" brand at Edinburgh Fringe, the four Taiwanese troupes selected by open call this year not only received a steady stream of positive audience reviews and media reports but also captured several awards, marking the first accolades to be bestowed to a Taiwanese production at Edinburgh Fringe.

★★★★ The List: "Taiwan Season: Fish"

A classic Taiwanese short novel staged in a new experimental way ... Taiwanese theatre company Shinehouse Theatre have brought to the Fringe a diverse set of shows retelling classic Taiwanese stories in accessible ways. Fish is a signed performance designed for hearing-impaired audiences, but the script projected onto the back wall in English is also essential for audiences without a hearing disability, as all the spoken language remains faithfully in Taiwanese.

★★★★ The Scotsman: "Taiwan Season: Floating Flowers, Dance Base, Edinburgh"

At the end, the rousing applause is as much for the athleticism as the aesthetics ... Po-Cheng founded his company, B.Dance shortly after graduating and now, aged 31, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Floating Flowers could stand to lose a few minutes, but for the most part his ability to constantly change direction and re-energise both the dancers and us is superb.

★★★★ FEST: "Taiwan Season: Floating Flowers"

For Tsai has coded a liminal study of grief here, with all its conflicting emotions. Neither simply sad nor happy, Floating Flowers wrestles with its own state, the dancers breathlessly cycling through steps—often in complex groups, but sometimes in solos, sometimes duets—as if hoping to shake out the pain ... We endure the process, with all its smiles, tears and sweat, and like true grief, this cannot be fully resolved.

★★★★★ The Wee Review: "Taiwan Season: Floating Flowers"

The dancers' intimate relation to the work is such that they eventually achieve what can only be described as an almost trance-like rapture—an exaltation. They become subsumed by the choreography, and in doing so, pull the audience inside the work with them. 

★★★★★ Broadway Baby: "Taiwan Season: Floating Flowers"

There is no sense of structure to this dance, but the experience is so intense and immersive, it does not matter. Po-Cheng is more interested in breaking the rules, for as he told me, if there are rules, there is no humour. 

★★★★★ Edinburgh Guide: "Taiwan Season: Floating Flowers, Dance Base"

A constant creation of ideas, creativity and flowing, streaming energy. The show is breath taking from beginning to end, each moment overflowing with momentum and innovation of concept and choreography.

★★★★ The Scotsman: "Taiwan Season: Bout Summerhall, Edinburgh"

 When you’ve grown up with someone, shared joys and sorrows, meal times and playtimes, it brings about a certain closeness that can't be replicated in adulthood ... The dynamic between the trio is as fluid as their bodies, shifting from opponent to protector, bystander to participant. 

★★★★ Seeing Dance: "Brotherly tensions: Chang Dance Theater in Bout"

If you seek one of those select shows that's an antidote to some of the overly pretentious dance on the Fringe, dance that’s too bound up in concept and forgets the moving body, look no further. Bout is Fringe dance at its best.

★★★★ The Guardian: "Bout review – a ringside seat for the delicate battles of brotherhood"

Bout floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

★★★★★ The Wee Review: "Taiwan Season: Bout"

What follows can be conservatively described as some of the most outstanding physical theatre ever created as the three brothers perform a punishing array of beautiful moves more balletic than anything you’ll ever see on a conventional tights-and-tutu stage. 

★★★★ Edinburgh Guide: "Taiwan Season: Monster, Dancebase"

 Monster is radical in its conception and avant-garde in its form and shape. It is exactly what the Fringe was built for. There is no standard beginning, middle or end here. There is a permeable membrane through which the audience passes and at some undetermined time they find themselves watching a dance performance. 

★★★★ To Do List: "Taiwan Season: Monster"

Monster is the kind of show that could leave you thinking about it for days.

★★★★★ The Wee Review: "Taiwan Season: Monster"

For all its flaws, Monster is an outstanding achievement and dares to not only be different but revels in its uniqueness and gleefully sticks two fingers up not only to its audiences but especially to its critics ... It's fabulous to see choreographers like Yen-Cheng Liu having the chutzpa to bring something as unconventional as Monster to the Dance Base stage.