Qing Cheng

I give this production four stars with some trepidation, as I am not entirely sure whether it is just my sense of Western artistic norms that is holding me back, or if in fact Qing Cheng was just a little clichéd.The story is heavily inspired by Taoism, and weaves together many threads of Chinese fairytales. Qing Cheng is the Green or Heavenly Mountain, depending on the subtitles’ choice of translation. Our male protagonist is a warrior on a quest of vengeance, and our female lead is a delicate princess in search of the elixir of life; the Mountain possessing the solution to both of their problems. Tumultuous ill-fated romance ensues.The production was blessed with some fantastic features: though pre-recorded the music and sound quality were out of this world. The small army of a cast harmonised beautifully, and the male and female principals never missed a note. The set is phenomenally intricate: 3D projections of mountains, mechanically rising rock crevices, and train-track rolling boulders, each physical object constructed to scale and utilised by the performers.Compliments aside, I have a lot of reservations about the actual plot and acting elements of the production. The story appeared to be arguing that all women are weak and feeble, and therefore need a male protector, in this case a stereotypical sword-swisher. The dance choreography was flawless, but the fight sequences were extremely stylised where, I felt, the talent to hand could have committed to more realistic combat. The acting was also rather sub-par, and I could not say whether this was the fault of the director or the performers, however I reminded myself that I was watching a pitch-perfect musical, not a play.An audience member afterwards described Qing Cheng as ‘an amateur musical-theatre director’s wet dream’, which wouldn’t be a bad slogan for future fringe tours.

Reviews by Louise Hemfrey

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★★★

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★★★★

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★★★★★

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The Blurb

Experience a love story brought to life as a spectacular Chinese musical. Martial arts, dance, music, costumes by the Oscar Winner for ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and a stunning multimedia backdrop tells the story of Taoism.

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