THE GOLDEN DRAGON
Global stories to take away +++==
Roland Schimmelpfennig's 2009 play, a bit hit in Germany, is a gift for a director. His characters are blank canvases with names such as 'The Young Woman' and 'The Man Over 60'. Much of their dialogue is written in the third person, stage directions included. It means there's a built-in theatricality and any number of possible directorial choices to be made.
In his debut as artistic director of ATC, Ramin Gray makes the most of it with an open set – literally a blank piece of paper – and a cast of five who, in accordance with the playwright's directions, routinely play against type; men as women, old as young, even human as insect.
All this creates a lively setting for a series of stories about the staff, customers and neighbours of a Thai-Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant which have a flavour as cosmopolitan as the dishes being served from the cramped kitchen.
The liveliness, however, only goes so far in this well acted production, because of a play that hints at having something to say about globalisation, economics and sexual exploitation, but never gets round to saying it. (Mark Fisher)
Traverse, 228 1404, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), times vary, £11–£17 (£6–£12).
© Mark Fisher 2011
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