As part of the Fringe’s always thought-provoking Taiwan Season, Sun Son Theatre presents Heart of Darkness, an interesting blend of movement, sound and theatre, which utilises both traditional and contemporary elements. It explores a woman’s life, from its hopes and ambitions to its eventual insignificance: a slow fade into inconspicuousness.
The relatively small group fit very nicely in the snug Cairns Lecture Theatre, one of Summerhall’s many quirky spaces. The production benefits from this intimacy, and yet the sound is never too loud that it over-powers the space. Low Pei Fen’s engaging chorography, which uses an effective amalgam of ritual and symbolism, does not attempt to deliver a critique of what we see. Rather, we are given a window into one woman’s life: a catalyst to many questions, without providing any answers.
A combination of live musicians and a recorded sound design are used highly effectively by the group. The musicians, who play a large array of instruments including traditional ones, are completely absorbed in what they are doing, and play with great deal of concentrated energy.
The dramatic ending certainly makes very clever use of the space. However, Heart of Darkness is one of those incredible rarities at the Fringe, a show that is actually too short! It is a slowly evolving affair, and the audience have only just become fully ensnared by what is happening, when it all abruptly ends: it would really benefit from more space to breathe fully.
Nevertheless, Heart of Darkness is another worthwhile production from the Taiwan Season, delivered thoughtfully and carefully by a group of genuinely dedicated performers.