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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

RUNNING THE SILK ROAD

LIVERPOOL – EVERYMAN THEATRE

By Paul Sirett
Conceived and directed by David Tse Ka-Shing

Image: Running the Silk Road Promotional Image

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website


A clash of cultures and ignorance of the wealthy is woven into an intriquing piece of theatre at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre.

Yellow Earth Theatre, in association with Beijing Opera Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre, present this journey of discovery which entwines what at first appears to be a straightforward play with Chinese myth and fantastical beasts. The cast ably manipulate paper dragons, exotic locust puppets and other mystical creatures to point up the message of good versus evil and the world’s battle to ward off global warming, natural disasters and human failings.


Along with these colourful interludes you are treated to pure Chinese opera with graceful flowing movements from Nu Ch’ou Chih Shig (Gongxin Lan) the Goddess of regeneration, who sings in high-pitched Mandarin, the words of which are translated above.

 

There is also vigourous dancing by Shen Feng as Lei Shen the thunder god, dressed in striking red and  black who symbolically fights with Yanzhong Huang who whirls in a shimmer of pale blue depicting Yu, queller of the world flood

The main protagonist,Ken (Nick Chee Ping Kellington), chooses to go on a journey – running the silk road – from Turkey to China to win back his fiancée who has broken off their engagement, having returned to flood ravaged Guangdong in China. He feels this gesture – to do a sponsored 5000 mile run, and raising funds to help flood victims, would win her back.With muslim friends Jahid (Saraj Chaudry), Dina (Betsabeh Emran) and fellow Chinese Wei (Chia-Kuei Chen) in the back up vehicle, they travel through Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan into China. Along the way they have to deal with a broken-down vehicle, being shot at and conflict amongst themselves

The play is punctuated with gentle humour, often coming from cultural misunderstandings, and endowed with current political references – including the China’s involvement in Africa and the horrors of Guantanamo Bay – revealing no-one can cast the first stone.

Ken, as he runs, holds aloft a green torch, representing ecological aspirations, intending to arrive in time for the  Bejing Olympic Games. He arrives late, but is met by his love Xi (Gongxin Lan) who has kept in touch through their blog.. As the mythical creatures have fought and put the world back into order, so Ken’s personal turmoil is resolved.
Jeanette Smith 3/5

 


Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website
www.everymanplayhouse.com


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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