Land of the Dragon

Scottish Storytelling Centre
Wed 5 – Mon 31 Aug
11:00
£6-£8
*****
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 *****
Once upon a time there was nothing – & then there was land – the Land of the Dragon
 *****

Having a personal interest in the bardic literature of the Welsh (I have translated Y Gododdin) I was delighted to take my seat in the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s lovely wee theatre for Land of the Dragon (gwlad y ddraig) by award-winning  puppeteers, PuppetSoup, of Wales. This magical show mixes the most marvellous gothic puppetry  with the Mabinogion, a collection of tales first collated in the 11th century, a time-capsule of much earlier material stretching back to the age of King Arthur (6th century AD).

*****

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 *****

On entering the theatre we are meet with a bleeting sheep, so realistic that it drew a child from his seat to gently stroke its fleece. Behind was a stage of keenly made grotesquerie, a fine backdrop for these tales hewn from the ancient Bardic tradition. Taliesin himself turns up, as the infant babe of the sorceress Ceridwen,  controlled by two puppeteers in order to extend her supernatural presence, especially when she jousted with a dragon.

 *****

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 *****

The major story of the show is that of a man, a dog & an egg – when the excellent stagecraft of the Puppetsoup collective goes into overdrive. I loved to see the egg grow & the people/puppets shrink, as every trick of perspective was employed, along with lights & super-atmospheric  music which helped to give the puppets genuine emotions – the perfect realism-inducing mix.

 *****

By the time the climax came with the duelling of two well-crafted, well-operated dragons – the white & the red – I had become completely riveted, as was the rest of the audience, especially to the whooshing beats of the dragonwings. Simply wonderful. A splendid piece of theatre that taps into some of the oldest vernal literature of these islands & fulfils the imaginary visions of poets such as the great Taleisin himself. FIVE STARS

*****
five-stars
Reviewer : Damo Bullen 
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Posted on August 17, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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