Yellow Earth Theatre, The Whisper of a Leaf Falling

Review in Issue 10-4 | Winter 1998

Few can beat Yellow Earth Theatre when it comes to sheer physical dexterity. The company fill a restricted studio space with acrobatic and Commedia dell’Arte routines of pinpoint accuracy.

Yellow Earth Theatre’s new piece concerns the story of a young man whose decision to climb a mountain becomes a spiritual journey after he encounters a demon on the way. The demon, excellently played by Tom Wu, leads the young man into the circles of hell and shows him first-hand how various mortal sins are punished in the netherworld. He also sees how his actions have caused great suffering to his wife, a situation which is resolved upon his return to the living world.

One cannot help but admire each actor’s sense of concentration and their awareness of the ensemble. The pacing is beautifully controlled – from the opening momentum of Tai Chi reflectiveness, through bursts of frenetic energy – and the scenes are linked by rhythmic foot stamping and song created by the cast. The performance, like the Kabuki ramp which twists onto the stage, manages to bridge two worlds. It is entertaining for children, and disciplined enough to satisfy an adult audience.

If I had any negative criticism it would be that at times the vocal delivery is under-powered and somewhat lacking in emotional depth. It would also be interesting to see the company tackle more contemporary issues. On the whole, however, this is a hugely enjoyable show from a talented company.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-4
p. 21