Chinese acts get rave reviews at The Fringe
A diverse array of contemporary and traditional Chinese productions entertained audiences in Scotland’s capital on the weekend, as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 opened its doors.
China Focus, a collection of eight acts, debuted at the festival, and a dozen other independent performers also represented the country at this year’s event, which is one of the world’s largest arts festivals.
This year’s Festival Fringe involves 3,398 shows from 62 countries, in venues throughout Edinburgh and will continue all month.
Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Festival Fringe Society, says: “We hope this is the start of a major collaboration with China at The Fringe. We want to see more Chinese work in 2018 and beyond.”
Major Chinese performing arts companies at the festival include the National Theater of China, the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center and the Shanghai Academy of Drama.
Xiang Xiaowei, the cultural counselor at the Chinese embassy, says China Focus will be an annual feature, marking a “new chapter in cultural relations” between China and the United Kingdom.
“The China Focus series will become an icon of Chinese culture at The Fringe in the future and will further enrich cultural exchanges during the ‘golden era’ of China-UK relations,” he says.
On Sunday at The Grand, the audience witnessed one highlight of the China Focus program — The Dreamer.
The collaboration between UK theater company Gecko and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center has already racked up several four-star ratings from festival reviewers.
The production draws inspiration from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tang Xianzu’s Peony Pavilion.
While the dialogue is in Mandarin, non-Chinese speakers can follow the show through the actors’ physicality. The immaculate set design, lighting and live violin all impress.
On Saturday evening, a sold-out crowd of more than 500 packed into Edinburgh’s Assembly Hall to watch China Goes Pop, featuring the Shandong Acrobatic Troupe and the China Arts Entertainment Group.
Some of China’s most talented jugglers, contortionists, aerial silk specialists and acrobats performed to recent pop smash hits.
The show was named one of Edinburgh-based reviewer The List’s top circus acts for this year.
China Goes Pop is directed by Shanda Sawyer, who is known for the stage production of The Marvel Universe.
The China Focus series will become an icon of Chinese culture at The Fringe in the future.” Xiang Xiaowei, cultural counselor at the Chinese embassy in London
The Shanghai Theater Academy’s Peking Opera The Boor, the National Theater of China’s Luocha Land, and New City, New Sound by the Shenzhen’s Alliance Art Group all opened on the weekend.
ChinaGoesPop is one of the highlights of the China Focus series at this year’s Festival Fringe.