Edinburgh Fringe 2016
A wood chopper is found by a tiger who is about to attack when the wood cutter claims that the tiger is his long lost brother, turned magically into a tiger many moons ago. The tiger believes him and though he finds out the truth from a conversation he over hears, comes to love the woodcutter and the mother and family he never meets. The death of both tiger and mother unite them in heaven though and the family that the tiger never had is a tale for us all to cherish.
This is not serious drama but it has a serious intent and purpose – entertaining children. What was great about this was the number of Korean children who attended and you heard performers and children talking in their native tongue. For some this can be a bother but for me I think the language of theatre should be the one communicated between audience and performance which works best for the target group and these kids loved it.
The performers were as enthusiastic as ever with each step taken with great pride. The use of shadow and visuals were great and though not the most innovative use of puppetry on the Fringe, they did use the puppets with aplomb.
The story was not quite as simplistic as it appears with a number of leaps of faith required but the simple setting and voice over and text in English allowed the rest of us to access it without too many problems. Both set and costumes keep it simple though the comic visuals and tumbles add to the story. We get some projection and shadow puppetry that also has a handle on the tradition without being tired and old.
There is a lot to be enthusiastic about in this production as we got the story in 5 episodes clearly highlighted in text and onscreen. The story is told to us before we see it unfold and whilst I might have wondered about having the ending pre told it worked well for those of us less well versed in Korean! The story does not shy away from things like the tiger not seeing the mother as he is worried about his reception and the death of both which is right bang in the tradition of good story telling for children – they require no sugar with which to coat things.
Whilst the words innovative and challenging were never designed for productions of this hue and cry, your children will love going on the story journey with these skilled and highly encouraging storytellers as they take them on a fairy tale with a challenging ending but so many wonderful pieces of music and performance that you cannot fail but smile by the end.