Back to regular weather here in Edinburgh today – pouring rain (because of course nothing says ‘rain on me’ like fabric forgotten on the line overnight…)
We were both in handmade dresses and got to the Roxy Assembly – in an old Church on the corner of Roxburgh Street – in plenty of time for some chat with very friendly front of house staff. So far, we’ve not met a grumpy person yet!
Brush – ah, how we missed you! Disclosure: we saw this show twice last year, it was so fantastic, and I was so happy they were coming back, I’ve been tweeting them a countdown.. If you only go to see one show, go see this one. Or their other production, The Overcoat, which we’ll be going to very soon I hope (as school goes back on Monday, our festival going is sadly cut short. What is that about Edinburgh council? It’s almost like you don’t want the plebs at the Book Festival etc.).. On with the review.
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Act: A professional theatre group from Seoul, South Korea, Brush Theatre (Theatre Haddangse) are full of energy, joy and fabulous story tellers, both physically and verbally. The mixed group of men and women throw themselves into telling the story of Daesung, a boy who only wants a real baby brother, and the journey he goes on with his Grandmother’s pig Dalbong.
Summary: We meet a group of cheeky temple fairies, who use brushes and large sheets of paper to draw pictures of Buddha and Jesus, and run away when Daesung comes along with his family. We meet mother and father, who take him to see Grandmother a long way off. Grandmother has a lovely pig called Dalbong, his best friend (and very funny). Grandmother tells him how to get the magic dust from the statue of Buddha in a temple to make sure his baby brother comes, and along the way, he and Dalbong have some very dangerous and funny adventures. I don’t want to spoil the ending, so can’t tell you too much!
Props: The main props are some very large boards with sheets of paper – the set is painted before your eyes, with huge gusto and perfectionism – Miss Kitty whispered “they’re very good drawers” – in lots of settings. I love the way that movement is incorporated into the art and the setting, I’ve never seen that before and it’s just as magical this year. There are a few rolls of paper and card that form mountains, flowers and stone steps! That’s pretty much it, and is one of the reasons why the music and performers are left to be front and centre, with no distractions.
Performance: it will blow you away, basically. Oh, you want more description than that? Every single actor in the troupe is gifted at communicating with face, gesture, movement and of course sound. There were more English words this year I think, and a couple of different performers, but most of the communication is non-verbal. You can see that the expressions and movements are big – there is subtlety but if you’re seated a few rows back, it won’t affect how you enjoy the show. There is live music throughout – oh how I wish I could play the accordion (and speak Korean!) – which is played from the front of the stage, so if you are close by, be prepared! There is humour but none of it patronises children or adults, there is no sarcasm and it’s all about the joy of story telling. There is a little song where the audience have to sneeze, and the cast are often in among the audience as they journey through the forest and find the temple. If you’ve ever been to a theatre and been carried away by the infectious energy of a show, you’ll know what I mean. It’s not just one particular thing, the whole ensemble is transporting.
Take Home Message: It could be “be careful what you wish for” but it’s more likely to be “be happy! love your family!” (I LOVE the respect that Daesun shows his Grandmother – it fits in with our tradition in the Orthodox church).
Miss Kitty Review: [Ed. it was hard to get her to talk in sentences to be honest, she had been so excited before we went and then when we were greeted personally AND given a lovely gift, she just about left the planet.]
“I think it’s the best show in the planet. They are so funny, they make me laugh and are so good at painting. I’m good at painting too but not like that. My favourite bit is when the dad shouts “My Soo-ooon!” and I like the pig and the bit at the end [I’ve edited this so that you don’t know the ending]. I wish I could see Brush every year until I’m a grown up.”
ASD/SEN Notes: This is mostly a low trigger show. There are no flashing lights, no strobes, no smoke machines. The music provided is all live and mostly gentle (and well done). The lights go up and down but slowly. At one point there are coloured lights behind a screen but these are slow, hand-speed. Music could be an issue – at a scene where Daesun is in danger, the banging of a drum pretty much reduced Miss Kitty to quivering jelly, but she was also very worried by the tiger (imagine one of those new year dragon type things). I think that’s about the only thing to watch out for, which in an hour long show is brilliant. It’s ‘handmade’ theatre in the best sense.
Miss K rating: “I give it a million!”
Mama Scissors rating: 20/20, in spite of the drum.
p.s. we will be going along to the Overcoat and will review that in a week’s time. Miss Kitty was such a big fan that the lovely Brush people gave her a little gift – her words were “This is the best day of my life”! Misty-eyed mama signing off.