FRINGE REVIEW – The Golden Dragon

*****

In the tiny kitchen of the Thai / Chinese / Vietnamese fast food restaurant, the young boy has toothache. His concerned co-workers crowd round to help; as invisible cords connect the inhabitants of the other homes & businesses in the same building in this hard-hitting and at times shocking play by ATC & Drum Theatre.

In a new translation from the original German by David Tushingham, The Golden Dragon has a cast of five, who play multiple roles and genders as the narrative is chopped up as quickly as the ingredients of one of the Chinese meals on the restaurant’s menu.

Stark, clean direction cuts the individual scenes; as the full grim details of the story play out. Tushingham’s script is modernist: the actors narrate the action & dialogue seconds before their characters repeat them; and vocal stage directions are left intact, again voiced by the cast.

A simple set of paper banners covers the back wall and floor like a tablecloth in the restaurant. By the end of this stylised and often brutal piece, it is covered with the remnants of the frequent explosions of violence which provide The Golden Dragon’s standout moments.

An exploration of the fragile links between people thrown together by accident of location, The Golden Dragon is at times hard to stomach, but in the end is a powerful, darkly comic and gripping addition to the Traverse’s Fringe menu.

The Golden Dragon runs from 10-28 Aug (not Mondays) at The Traverse Theatre. Times vary. More details here

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