FRINGE REVIEW – Dragon Night: Young China Shines


This is a Fringe show that doesn’t feel like a Fringe show. Rather, it is a school recital with all the rough edges that implies, and none of the jaded cynicism of the typical Edinburgh audience in August.

The artistic displays from these students are doubly impressive because these young people have travelled all the way from Beijing to share their skills with a British audience. All attend a prestigious high school famed for its arts education, and demonstrate impressive skills in their specialist areas of music, dance, tai chi, martial arts, paper cuts, calligraphy and painting.

It would seem churlish to begin rating the talent on offer here, these are teenage students still learning. As one would expect from any show of this form, there is a wide range of skill levels on display. The pupils acquit themselves very well: there are some standout dance performances, the singers stun the audience with the exceptional, crystalline clarity of their voices, and the visual artists exhibit examples of work which any adult would be proud to claim as their own work. It is also a charming touch to allow the students to speak about their work.

The only real flaw with this show lies in the presentation. There are a large number of families in the audience and with no interval and a 90-minute running time, there were signs of restlessness in some of the children attending.

This project marks the beginning of a longer term cultural partnership between Edinburgh and Beijing, which is bound to add a welcome extra cultural dimension to the Fringe in the future.

10 Aug times vary @ The Queen’s Hall

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