Review: Luocha Land

National Theatre of China
C Venues,  7 – 12 Aug

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Weiruo Huang’s Luocha Land follows Maji, an ordinary man, who, following a plane accident, washes up on Luocha Land where the laws of good and evil are reversed, and humans are vanquished. Maji meets various demons and undergoes various trials in order to escape the island.

Directed by Miao Zhao, The National Theatre of China’s production is filled with Chinese symbolism and deep cultural resonances. Despite being performed in mandarin with occasional explanations in English, non-Chinese-speaking audiences will definitely be able to follow the story, as the production involves choreography, stage combat and puppetry. Influenced by traditional Chinese Opera tropes, this show is filled with captivating staging and stylised combat.

However, due to the style of performance and cultural underpinnings, this production may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Expect huge elaborations of a single event, with small moments stretched to great proportions in the style of traditional Chinese theatre, instead of quick plot progression.

That being said, Luocha Land is a fine example of the introduction to Chinese theatre, visually captivating from start to finish.