About Lady White Fox with Nine Tales… has an enchanting concept and much potential, but promised more than it could deliver at Assembly George Square Studios.
The premise of About Lady White Fox with Nine Tales… enchanted me from the very beginning. Combining Macbeth with an old Korean legend of Kumiho, a nine-tailed fox that transforms into a beautiful woman to seduce boys and eat their livers, truly sounds like an exceptional multicultural experience. However, the show – taking place in an unsuitable venue with amateur-looking set-design – did not entirely fulfil my expectations.
The show includes dance, physical theatre and masks to tell the story of a nine-tailed fox who becomes Lady Macbeth and causes the well-known tragedy. Both traditional Korean music, as well as European opera, is used throughout the performance. All of this should make for a glorious cross-cultural performance – but once you see the set design, an inexpensive looking black cloth upon which the actors paint, the promised magic somewhat disappears.
Although this is a Fringe show and of course high-budgets are not expected, there was something about this particular undertaking that almost demands grandeur. High expectations for the visual identity of the show are established from the beginning: the promotional photo looks majestic with its combination of black, white and red. And to affirm the company’s aspiration for a grandiose performance, the music choices such as opera make a number of scenes heavily melodramatic. These do work perfectly well, but combining the melodrama of arias with cheap-looking background, especially after the poster invited us to expect almost breath-taking visuals, does not. For the most part, it feels as if we were in a rehearsal room and the set has not arrived yet.
Moreover, by the production being housed within a small Assembly George Square studio where only the first couple of rows have unrestricted view of the floor (on which much of action takes place), the show reaches only a few audience members. Reblocking should have surely occurred once the company realised this problem, early in the festival.
About Lady White Fox with Nine Tales… could be so much more; the potential is huge. It is a project which needs more investment. I know that some shows return for a second year, and I would love to see it in 2019 in a better, more complete form.