The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Wednesday 24 August 2011
Prince Zi Dan, the Peking Opera version of Hamlet, considers his next move. To show that he's thinking, he stretches one foot up past his ear and goes into a deep crouch on his supporting leg. He does this while wearing an embroidered costume, high platform shoes and a headdress with waving peacock plumes. Having finished his contemplative stretch, he cries, "Let's go!"
Peking Opera mixes stylised singing with dance, mime, acrobatics and martial arts. It's a highly formal style, with recognisable character types and reactions. The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan is a fascinating recent adaptation, translating the Hamlet storyline into a very different form.
Claudius becomes a "mask" character, his face painted in black and white patterns, his voice raw and growling. Polonius is now a clown, toddling in a squatting position under his full, loose robe. Stabbed by Zi Dan, he turns multiple backflips while dying. Ophelia's madness works brilliantly with the Peking Opera conventions. The flowers become part of her elaborately feminine persona, her distress shown through her fluttering sleeves.
This is a style for action and big emotion, so the pace slows when characters stop to plot and debate. Fu Xiru's Zi Dan moves grandly through the story, whether recoiling from a ghost or preparing for a duel.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones, season 5: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Martin Scorsese 'in shock' after death on set of new film Silence
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures