Theatre review: Mwathirika
Theatre review: Mwathirika

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Mwathirika, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock. ★★★ Dedicated in opening supertitles to the victims of Indonesia’s September 1965 tragedy and to all victims of political violence, this adult puppet theatre show from Paper Moon Puppet Theatre is a gently-harrowing experience and a dark but very human testimony to the …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Mwathirika, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock.

★★★

Dedicated in opening supertitles to the victims of Indonesia’s September 1965 tragedy and to all victims of political violence, this adult puppet theatre show from Paper Moon Puppet Theatre is a gently-harrowing experience and a dark but very human testimony to the effects of war and totalitarianism on families, and particularly on children.

Not such a visible struggle in the West, the Indonesian uprising of 1965 failed and resulted in brutal anti-Communist purges being carried out over the next year, with estimates half a million were killed and a third of the families in the country affected.

In Mwathirika, the family in question become a target simply because someone paints an accusatory red triangle on their door. The staging is beautiful, with a village of bright fabric houses, populated by adorable little puppet families operated manually by grey-clad handlers.

These characters’ expressivity is incredibly realistic, and we feel close to them after watching children play and fathers comfort; until the mark appears on their door and father is taken away by a brusque armed soldier. Not so much a narrative as a sequence of events all leading in a predictably tragic direction, this high-quality piece drags us along in a poignant slipstream.

C (Venue 34) until 31 August / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 27 August 2015

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