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Review: Fall and Flow at Underbelly Cowgate – Ed Fringe

Review by Kate Gaul

Hong Kong’s award-winning physical theatre company, Théâtre de la Feuille, present six short stories using physical theatre and stunning live music. What struck me as I observed the company is that they are probably used to working in the upmarket performing arts centres of the world. Today we are in one of the repurposes Cowgate vaults – part of the labyrinth-esque old town and it lends a wilder more primitive atmosphere to these quite ritualistic works. The costuming of the company is superb – extremely sculptural in black textures – that moves magnificently and doesn’t look as if it creases.

Founded in 2010 in Paris by Wong Chun Tat (Ata), Théâtre de la Feuille is currently based in Hong Kong. Wong is one of the very few graduates of Chinese descent to have completed the two-years of The Laboratory of Movement Study at École internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq. In addition to his studies, Wong further pursued his career by attaining the Jacques Lecoq teaching certification in 2018. Currently, Théâtre de la Feuille consists of twenty performers from different countries and backgrounds. The artistic approach of Théâtre de la Feuille is a creative product of east-meets-west, where the western pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq interweaves with the traditional arts of the East. In this Edinburgh fringe presentation there is seven dancers onstage and the offstage musician.

The music is a vital part of the presentation using gongs, drums, stringed instruments and flute. All evocative and human in scale.

The movement sequences of the company include kung Fu, non-verbal chaplin-esque comedy and the western Lecoq roots and buffoon are also evident. Fans, kicks, tumbling all have their place. This melting pot of influences appeals to the audience’s imagination. The choreography is super sharp, and the rhythmic control is masterful. Often the work breaks into extended slow motion and the influence of cinema becomes clear.

From the company: “IN THE MUDDY WATER OF JIANGHU, DON’T WE ALL DRIFT AND LIVE WITHOUT PURPOSE?” There is a time when injustice prevails, heroes have to resort to fists.

But sooner or later, we realise that the jianghu is not a black-and-white world. It is a place full of mixed feelings of hatred and love. Is it true that righteousness is nowhere to be found? “Fall and Flow” re-conceptualises the moving pictures of jianghu with physical acting techniques on stage.

This is stunning work.

Image Supplied


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