Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

The Taiwan Season brings a selection of diverse performances to the Edinburgh Fringe. Shinehouse Theatre take pride in creating accessible theatre and look to cover important subjects that bring marginalised and overlooked people to the forefront. Fish is based on a novel by Taiwanese author Huang Chun-ming and tells the story of a young boy and his Grandfather. It is a tale of hardship, injustice and misunderstandings and is told through spoken word, British Sign Language (BSL) and puppetry.

Fish is presented by the seven performers of Shinehouse and each company member takes on a variety of roles and tasks during the show. The part of the young boy is presented as a puppet. He wears pale clothes and has no eyes or facial expressions. This blankness allows the audience to project themselves onto this child, so we can clearly experience the story from their perspective. Conflict between generations is at the heart of the show. The imposing grandfather gives the young child the task of going to a market to by some fish. The assignment is not an easy one and the boy finds himself undertaking an arduous and difficult mission. 

The story of Fish is delivered through Taiwanese narration which is interpreted on the stage into BSL. English supertitles are also projected onto a screen to the back of the stage. The use of BSL makes Fish feel more open and accessible and this sense of thought, consideration and freedom is echoed in the story and the actions of the boy. The puppet is expertly manipulated to convey a variety of emotions and this further allows the audience to endear to him.

Fish is only 40 minutes long and feels very short. The performance ends abruptly and on a melancholy tone. During the short time frame we experience delightful puppetry and expressive storytelling and a longer story may have made Fish a more fulfilling experience for the audience.