White Tea could have just been a theatrical gimmick. Instead, it is a complicated and moving story told with imagination and pizzazz.
A small audience are invited into a room covered in white cloth. Everyone is handed a cup of tea, asked to wear a white robe and ushered to a pillow to sit on. Two women then perform while pictures are projected on the walls and colourful lights flash, all looking even more brilliantly bright due to the sea of white that allows it all to reflect and bounce. The effect is rather hypnotic and would almost qualify as an art installation in itself.
But the story that is told is actually quite a compelling one. A Western woman is told that she must travel to Japan. As this is structured like a detective story, to reveal more would be cheating, but a complicated story of secrets, memory and re-written history begins to unfold.
Written and directed by David Leddy, White Tea is a full theatrical force. Leddy’s script is rather literate and surprising, and it has a much more haunting yet beautiful resonance to it than one originally assumes. And though the direction is extremely high-concept, everything fits back into the story. It is a brave production that takes many risks, all of which are more than amply rewarded.
With two fantastic performances, a brilliant script and excellent direction, White Tea is a completely compelling yet original production. Don’t miss it.
Originally written for What’s Onstage.com.
Plays at the Assembly at George Street until August 31 before moving to the Tron in Glasgow.
Filed under: Edinburgh Festival 2009 |