Since1994 image(1)

Fringe Review: Taiwan Season: Since 1984

Megan Amato reviews Taiwan Season: Since 1984 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I CAN always count on Taiwan Season to bring a thoughtful and outstanding range of acts to the Edinburgh Fringe and #Since1994 proved to be no exception.

On the surface, this circus/physical theatre is visually stunning. The strength of each performer is demonstrated through their phenomenally tight acrobatics. The show had a cabaret feel as the performers wantonly sashayed and flirted with the audience. Light was used to highlight the body, often the stomach. Skin was on show and yet a lingering question remained: just whose gaze is this performance for?

Some of the message may have been lost on non-native speakers, as illustrated by the laughter during moments that appeared comical but had a deeper and often darker meaning. Luckily, I sat next to a Taiwanese girl named Vivi who kindly shared any context this Anglophone may have missed.

A fan favourite was a dancer who entered with a table on her head with characters written on it (father, brother, etc, said Vivi). She hesitantly peeks under it before fully appearing and coquettishly engages with the audience. Her leg strength and depth perception awed the crowd who responded with “oohs” and “aahs” as she flipped and caught the table with her feet. With each flip, we see glimpses of more Chinese characters, this time disavowing the weight of the patriarchy.

One poignant moment was when one performer walked onto the shadowy set and faced away from the audience with their legs spread. They began to pull bits of red fabric from their underwear before removing a pink balloon that quickly deflated. Again, they frantically pulled out red fabric until another pink balloon was revealed. This one was blown up to completion before being set aside and the cycle was repeated until a blue balloon came forth and was lovingly cradled.

I was curious to learn the meaning behind the show’s name, so I did a little research and discovered that Taiwan didn’t really address violence against women until a woman murdered her abusive husband in 1994.

This is a deeply feminist piece about shedding the constraints of patriarchy, both societal and those that pit women against each other. It is also cultural, which means that not every message may resonate completely with us outside Taiwan, but that doesn’t lessen its impact.

A stunning and moving performance with its eeriness based on the real rather than the imaginary.


You can see #Since1994 at Assemby Roxy Central Aug 16-20, 22-27 at 13:30 – find out more at

Read more reviews on Scottish Field’s Fringe pages.

Plus, don’t miss the September issue of Scottish Field magazine.