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2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Reviews

Date: 18 August 2014
Written by: Thom Dibdin

Live illustration and song make for accomplished Korean tale at
the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Charming in its simplicity, Korean company Haddangse has found a
universal language in which to tell its very home-grown story of
young boy Daesung who wants a baby brother. The story is strongly
embedded with Korean cultural references, as the boy goes off with
his best friend, a pig, to collect the magic dust from a Buddha's
sneeze. But the telling of it is so enchanting, with just enough said in
English, that all will comprehend what is going on.
Everything in the set is drawn on the spot. Two meter high sheets of
blank paper are quickly painted to create Daesung's home. Then torn
away, leaving blank paper to depict the journey from that house to
his Granny's, where the adventure can begin.
It's the actual act of illustration which the six-strong company make
into an art form in itself. The quick understanding of what is being
drawn and the utter cleverness of designs that can change from
landscape to tree with a few extra lines.
These are not calligraphers, however, but actors whose create a large
cast of characters who return and develop as the story is told. And
the live singing and accordion add another level of delight to a clever,
accomplished tale.
C, 0845 260 1234, until 24 Aug, 12pm, 8.50 10.50 (5.50--8.50).

7 Aug 2014
Published by Sally Stott

Published by Sally Stott

What starts off seeming like one of those shows right-on parents
take their kids to as a way of tricking them into learning language
skills turns into a delightful Korean fantasy story about a childs
quest for a baby brother and his friendship with one of the best
characters Ive seen in a childrens show a pet pig called
On big sheets of paper the changing set is drawn in a stylistic
cross between traditional ink brush painting and the simple
designs many of the kids in the audience, mostly aged five or
under, might do themselves. Splashes of red on swishes of black
become berries on a tree; a roller is used to wallpaper a canvas
that rapidly becomes a family home.
Its simple but innovative stuff with some amusing little twists
that have even the adults laughing.
The cast are more skilled at visual storytelling than delivering
dialogue in English, which is a second language, and the snuffling
Dalbong is such a success because he can communicate without
words. But as the drawings turn from 2D designs to 3D creatures
to the sound of accordion music, an insight into Korean culture
becomes a magical adventure.
Until 24 August. Today noon,
Originally published in The Scotsman

10th August 2014

Reviewed by Didi Craze

Brush is the enchanting tale of lonely little Daesunghis grandmother shares a
secret with himif he meets the three forest fairies and makes them laugh, they will
make his wildest dreams come truePaintings are created on stage and brought to life
before your eyes. A bewitching story filled with weird and wonderful characters.
Mysterious oriental curves and colourful westernised drawings are dancing on the
wallpaper! Movement, puppetry, and heartfelt accordion melodies entwine in this
delightfully inventive family-friendly show direct from Korea.
As we walked into the theatre space a man played soulfully to us on the accordion, the cast already
on stage, met us with beaming smiles and pointed to seats, encouraging us to sit down. They giggled
and played versions of Tag across the stage. The show hadnt begun and already we felt welcomed
into the unique and warming world of Brush. Once everyone was settled in their seats, the narrator
caught our attention with an introduction and the simple invitation, Lets go on an exciting
adventure. The mood was set.
The stage was effectively simple, focusing around three large white pieces of paper, which came to
life in more ways than one throughout the story much to the delight of the children watching. The
cast spoke a mixture of English and Korean without losing any flow in the narrative - it was a lovely
way to expose children to another language and culture. The beautiful physicality of the performers
meant that mood and narrative was always clear. The sounds of the Korean language in song were
lovely, round and warm and added a subtle depth to the mood. The story was perfectly accentuated
by the live music, played to the side in the audiences vision, with a mixture of instruments, artfully
complementary to the atmosphere of the story, beautiful and evocative.
There was great comedy in this play, huge amounts of sneezing and double takes and snorting clever
pigs as well as careful and purposeful painting, showed the skill, commitment and energy of the cast.
As I looked around I saw very young children open eyed and giggling - gently enthralled by the
unfolding visual delights. My 10 year old was as charmed as younger children and was indeed, as Im
sure many other children were, itching to go up on stage and paint on that lovely big blank canvas.
It is heart-warming that this ancient act of story and play through painting can still be appealing in a
digital age.
The gentle and warm atmosphere was lightly jarred, in my opinion, at the end with the caricature
screams of the Mum giving birth, which felt unnecessary and clich and a little inappropriate for the
young audience. That said, the humour in it was clear and the audience were laughing at the physical
fun of this scene as three adult sized babies come rolling out from behind the canvas.
What makes this show outstanding is the ability of the production as a whole to maintain the
commitment of a painted narrative that is in synergy with the set, adding an enchanting multi
dimensionality to the piece. There was no reference to adult humour nor filmic methods of
storytelling, reminding us that children can be completely satisfied with skilful inventive CGI-free
storytelling. The build-up of mood was well paced, confidently played and the simple theatricality of
the roaring cat was a delight.

on 9th August 2014
by Will Jackson

From the start, both children and parents were onboard with this
Brush is a new piece of experimental theatre from the Korean
theatre company, Haddangse. It follows the story of only child DaeSung, played with a lovely whimsical quality by Miriam Woo, who is
desperate for a younger brother. So his grandmother sends him on a
quest into the forest to find the secret Buddha nose dust, which is
rumoured to have magical properties. But there is a twist in the
staging of this Korean folk tale: the entire set is being painted during
the performance.
Haddangse manage to cram in all the right elements needed for a good
children's show. Despite the somewhat strange premise, there is some
incredible physical comedy, puppetry and of course painting. Its mesmerising
watching the cast work together on stage. Although a few scenes come across
as a bit long winded, the show does well to overcome the language barrier,
considering that most of it is performed in Korean.
From the start, both children and parents were onboard with this production.
The woodland fairies, the shows chorus, always brought smiles to faces and
Dae-Sungs best friend, a pig called Dal-Bong, completely stole the show. The
whole play was accompanied by traditional live music performed by Sang Guon
Heo on the accordion, which added to the folky quality.
The staging is inspiring and there are some incredibly beautiful and subtle
moments throughout the show. There is a particularly magical scene where
Dae-Sung and Dal-Bong are chasing each other through the forest. All of the set
and props have a lovely playful quality about them and one of the details I
loved about the show is that the entire set is made out of recyclable materials.
If you're looking to take your family on a fun, kooky adventure, this will do the
trick. The show is one of a kind, so make sure you check it out before the end of
the month.


2014 August 5
by Andrew Bell

ED2014 Childrens Show Review: Brush (Haddangse Korea) By Andrew Bell

A Korean folk tale (performed mostly in Korean) about a boys quest with his
grandmother to make his mother give him a baby brother doesnt necessarily
sound like a great basis for a kids show, but somehow it works. Fusing
calligraphic drawing, dance, physical comedy and a dash of Korean innuendo (I
think), Brush had the audience giggling, gasping and cowering in just the right
amounts. The cast are emotive and acrobatic actors but, while they are
undoubtedly also skilled at painting, some of the drawing sections are a little too
long. Overall though, Brush was engaging, amusing and visually interesting.
Despite the language barrier, it was clear enough that my four year old son
understood what was going on.

C, until 24 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andrew Bell]



published on Tuesday 19 August

by Lizzie Bell

Three huge, blank screens, primed with enormous sheets of paper, and the music of Sang
Guon Seo on the melodian these are the things that greet you as you enter for this unique
show. This is no ordinary faery story: painting, music and physical theatre will tell far more
of this tale than words ever could.
Desperate for a little brother, Dae-Sung sets off on an adventure to meet the three faeries,
accompanied at times by mum, dad, grandma and a pig. They travel over hills, through
woods, and finally to the Temple; up ingenious steps and past mischievous trees. What
makes this show special is that the actors create the backdrop to their adventures as they go,
in a way that's both very funny and oh-so cleverly done.
The opening scene, consisting of a children's song and some simple artwork, seems rather
strange at first - but it introduces the style of the piece, combining painting with physical
comedy, action and the most delightful little details. It warms the audience up brilliantly
and, as the song reappears later on, serves to give you its meaning without requiring a
It's an example of how well-thought-out this piece is. A lot of work has gone into ensuring
that the actors work together seamlessly to produce the artwork. It is captivating; you
watch, wondering just what the brush strokes will become, while also laughing as they fight,
tumble about and play. What I particularly enjoyed was that the paper, when it was finished
with, was never simply torn off: even the scenery changes were done with style and humour.
Personally I found the switches between Korean and English, between listening for tone and
listening for meaning, quite difficult. However, they chose well what needed to be translated,
and the fact it's not too reliant on words means that parents don't need too feel bad when
their children shriek in delight.
This is a charming show, full of physical comedy and delightful paintings the whole family
will enjoy. The characters are endearing, especially the mischievous faeries in their leafy
hats and Minkyu Kong's distractible pig, and the whole cast make the scenery truly comes
alive. This light hearted piece will give both young and old a little joy.

The New Current

on 22nd August 2014
by Niger Asije

To get a childrens show right theatre companies have to ensure
they maintain a fine balance with their production. Sometimes
it is easy to play down to children but thats not always the best
way to create a good show. When a company are able to keep
this balance the result is something really remarkable.
Haddangse from korea bring a play that is steeped in Korean tradition and magic
that creates a show that is unique and entertaining. The story centres on Daesung Miriam Yoo - who would like nothing more than to have a baby brother but his
parents are less enthusiastic about the prospects of another child. But Daesung is
determined and sets off to his Grandmother who tells him that he needs to collect the
magic dust from a Buddha's neeze. So with that he sets off on an adventure with his
best friend Dalbong, who is apig and along the way they encountering the three
forest fairies and a wild and interesting landscape.

The three large panels are covered in paper and throughout the show the company
draw a variety or images and scenes forming the backdrop of their story. There is an
ingenious use of space as and the flow of the play is maintained with full commitment
from the company.
Brush delights and from the start manages capture the imagination of the
children. Sang Guon Seo beautifully captures the intended tone the play is aiming for
with his enchanting melodeon and further illustrates the uniqueness of this
production. Director Kil Jun Leekeeps the flow of the play balanced allowing it to
open up like a story with each act turning over like pages in a fairytale. He works so
well to keep the action tight and the unique use of space and the changable set is
very effective.
Edinburgh Fringe offers hundreds of new experiences for theatre goers to connect
with theatre or comedy in a way that they might never have been able to connect
with before. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that children should also be given this
opportunity to be part of something that is unique, educational and fun.
Brush, much like The Dandelion Story from a few years back, give their young
audiences a genuine gift of theatre that is bound to remain with them for a long time.
Now, just like then, the children connected with the story and never became
distracted with just enough English being told for them to follow the play.!edfringe-brush-review/cuwu

Love it!

Primary Times
Reviewer: Rachel Hignett

A Korean fairytale told Korean style! A young boy begs his parents for a baby brother, but his
parents have different ideas and send him away to see his grandmother. Even the pet pig cant
cheer up poor Daesung, and his grandmother sends him off to find 3 fairies in the forest. They
ensure that his mother gets more than she and even Daesung bargained for! A whimsical,
charming, simple tale told beautifully with brushes on canvas, and accompanied by dance and
humour. Subtle attention to detail brings the story alive. Korean accordion folk music adds to
the atmosphere.

Isobel aged 9 says It was really good, funny and a bit bonkers!
Felix aged 4 says I loved it!
I am surprised that this was such a hit given that it was told in Korean but
the language really didnt seem to make much difference! A Fringe original!

HADDANDGSE Theatre Company

2014 Edinburgh Fringe Reivews!edfringe-brush-review/cuwu