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Golden Dragon (Plymouth)

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
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The ATC and Drum Theatre’s production of The Golden Dragon lost me completely. I’m really not too sure what the point is.

Translated by David Tushingham, Roland Schimmelpfennig’s chop suey of experiences focussed on the Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese restaurant relies on five actors playing multiple parts and switches between stories faster than instant noodles.

Strangely the play insists on the women being played mainly by men, and women playing men and, although I have no difficulty with this – and the cast managed it superbly – I miss the point of why.

With nothing more than white paper unrolled to cover the back and floor of the stage (an interesting and effective device), simple costume suggestions and basic props (but why do we need the gratuitous skeleton?), this is a perplexing straight through 80 minutes.

I get the lamentable tale of illegal immigrants, and the salutary ant and cricket fable but surely the young woman didn’t frolic away her summer and so deserve to be pimped to satisfy the needs of old men, worker ants and angry divorcees so why link the two? And why would a slinky stewardess want to suck on a decayed tooth discovered in her Thai soup? And where does the old man’s thoughts or the pregnant granddaughter’s plight take or tell us?

I wish I could say more as David Beames, Adam Best, Ann Firbank, Kathryn O'Reilly and Jack Tarlton give their all in the roles given and manage to convince but the play itself does nothing for me other than to irritate – particularly the reciting of menus (presumably to justify its title) and ‘short pause’.


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