DETENTION - Edfringe review

Who doesn’t remember DETENTION? That eerie feeling of being asked to subject oneself to various punishments because of some mischief you committed in class? Hong Kong born Tang Shu-wing’s, Detention is great.

Trained at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Shu-wing set up his theatre company in 1992 on his return to China. A unique mix of Chinese martial arts, acrobatics, Chinese opera dance movement, and percussion, Detention is delightful. Set in a school detention room, three boys and one adorable girl classmate are virtually held captive by their very beautiful and comically sadistic teacher. While they get up to all sorts to impress the girl, their punishments augment by the minute. Their detention climaxes into acrobatic slapstick. The end is a gentle critique against authority, a manically hilarious gymnastics where words would really have been superfluous. It speedily descents into comedy but his message of resistance to unquestioned rule is clear enough. Childhood exuberance annihilates the arrogance of the despot.

The five performers are truly unique in their ability both in their gymnastics but also in their non-verbal physicality. Detention’s cast includes, Wong, Ho Pong RX China’s No.2 Beat-Box Champion who has performed on TV throughout Asia. Award winning theatre star Ho, Hong Man Oggy, acclaimed martial artist and actor Tsai, Winwei, dance star Chan, Man Kwan and actor Cheng, Chun Tung, all of them giving their utmost in five commendable performances.

Three times winner of the ‘Best Director’ award at the Hong Kong Drama Awards Director Tang Shu-wing’s ability to transplant narrativity into Asian aesthetics entwined with Westernised musicality is quite unique. Don’t miss it!

(c) Effie Samara
reviewed 5th August (preview)

Venue: Assembly Rooms Music Hall
Dates: 5th August (Preview), 7th-30th August 2015 (excluding 17th)
Ticket Price: £16/£14 concession. Suitable: All ages

Author's review: