Thursday, September 21

Trojan Women – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Phenomenal. Raw. A fusion of golden talent across time and space. Combining Euripides’ play from 415 BCE with outstanding modern expertise is genius. Jung Jae-Il, the musical director, composer, is behind the success of Parasite (2019) and the cult TV series Squid Game; Scott Zielinski has lit more than 300 productions with numerous leading directors; renowned video/projection designer, Austin Switser, swamps and caresses the senses in magnificent style; Cho Myung Hee’s clean-lined, gorgeous, set is drop-dead wonderful; Wen Hui’s choreography is faultless; Kim Moo-Hong’s costumes … I want one. And then, of course, there’s the wonderful writer, Bae Sam-Sik who is acclaimed for outstanding structure, profundity and eloquence. The direction and conception is down to Ong Keng Sen, whose productions aim to bridge the gap between the past and the present, by interweaving diverse traditions from around the globe. And amid all this brilliance, is the revered pansori composer Ahn Sook-Sun who has delivered, and more. It is a sublime collaboration.

I really didn’t know what to expect, never having gone to a Korean production. It swept me away with its power. The singing and performances are exceptional. The emotional range with the simple musical accompaniment is perfect for this tragic tale of women as victims of war. The choral singing is a storm at sea: engulfing waves of rage and pain spilling from the stage. I simply cannot say how much I was enthralled by this production. Kim Kum-mi, as Hecuba, led her women with mighty defiance and heroism. Stunning.

The Edinburgh International Festival aims to invite attendees to consider Community over Chaos; hope in the face of adversity; and a perspective that’s not one’s own.

The National Changgeuk Company of Korea has certainly considered and demonstrated all three aspects of art’s place within society. I simply wish everyone had a chance to marvel as I did this evening at a thing of beauty created by such awe-inspiring teamwork. I loved it. If I could give it six stars, I would.

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 10th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.