Leodo: Paradise Lost

Not be confused with the Milton epic, Leodo: Paradise Lost follows the story of a young girl lost at sea and transported to a magical island beyond the horizon, Leodo. Or at least that’s how it starts. About twenty minutes in, it feels as if the narrative is largely forgotten about and we’re left with forty minutes of what appears to be simply celebratory drumming and singing. However, both are admittedly very impressive.

The movement is fairly impressive and, combined with the intensity of the drums and superb technical effects, it captures the audience with its spell.

For the first twenty minutes, I am somewhat mesmerised. Bar a few explanatory projections near the beginning, the story is told entirely through movement, without dialogue. The movement is fairly impressive and, combined with the intensity of the drums and superb technical effects, it captures the audience with its spell. It is something of an intense cultural experience, unlike anything most of those watching would have seen before. Some of the choreography, combined with Korean Dragon puppetry, is marvellous.

But then the story seems to stop. Perhaps it is forgotten or perhaps the story is brought to an early close. Where once you were interpreting the silent movements and interactions, there is now nothing left to interpret. The skill of the drummers is very impressive, but any message the show intended to give appears to have died away. The drums eventually start to grate on the mind and I find myself frustrated. I was intrigued by the story of the girl and the dragon and I was disappointed not to be able to learn more.

Leodo: Paradise Lost showcases a great deal of musical skill, but does not balance its other elements well. Certainly not one for those prone to headaches.

Reviews by James Beagon

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Performances

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The Blurb

Mesmerising Korean performance featuring traditional and contemporary drumming, singing, dancing and movement. Energetic multi-talented performers create an enthralling atmosphere and conjure Leodo, a fantasy island and artistic nirvana, treasured by the people in the Jeju-do province. Beautiful costumes, heartfelt movements and enchanting music transfer audiences to the past, delivering the wisdom, arts and joy of Jeju. Join us with this joyful celebration of life. From the creators of Pudasi, featured in TheCultureTrip.com’s Ten Unmissable Shows, Edinburgh Fringe 2013. In contrast to John Milton, the 'Lost' in Leodo represents the passage to a paradise.

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