Reviewer: David Doyle
The Dreamer, a co-production between the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Gecko is the European premiere of a piece of physical theatre inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Peony Pavilion, a text by Shakespeare’s Chinese contemporary Tang Xianzu. It’s a visually stunning piece of theatre with moments of real magic that will no doubt delight audiences.
Blending Gecko’s signature style with exciting talent from the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, the piece merges exciting, and evocative movement with a stirring soundscape to offer new insights into the characters from two classic texts and their relationships with modern society. As the exciting ensemble weave through the real and fantasy, a vibrant kaleidoscope of worlds emerges within which some truly breath-taking moments occur.
The story is mostly expressed physically with snatches of text peppering the production. The reliance on physicality is both the shows greatest asset and its greatest liability. It allows for some stunning visual moments as worlds collide. With exquisite design, the images created by the ensemble are the highpoint of the show. It is unlikely that you will see a better-designed show at Edinburgh this year and the sheer scope and scale of it is enough to warrant a trip to see the production. However, at times the visual swamps the production and the lack of text means that the narrative doesn’t quite sustain itself for the full seventy minutes. However, when in full flow, the pure visual beauty of the piece is enough to paper over any other shortcomings.
Runs until 15 August 2017 | Image: Contributed