People might go away to the bush or the seaside for a time to have a calm reprieve from city life. Amongst the clamour and rush of a Fringe festival, punters will find a similar effect in Dumplings Darling: Love Without Borders, a tale for the ears and (if you want) a trip for the tastebuds.
The show, created and performed by Alisa & Ania, aims to recreate the feel of “childhood story-time at the library”. Our storyteller is Alisa (Tanaka-King) who warmly invited us to sit at the set tables. Dressed in overalls, Alisa stirred some long-forgotten memory of Play School.
At times Tanaka-King would read from her storybook as Ania (Reynolds) provided musical accompaniment on keyboard. With poetic detours, the tale related the story of five strangers, who all receive a mysterious invitation to an address at a given time.
Much like a children’s book, the title here does give a clue to the story. No matter, Tanaka-King skilfully gave a range of different characters their own mannerisms of speech. At various times in this simple, yet affecting tale, dumplings are offered.
However, partaking isn’t expected. The fringe blurb indicated that our nibbles would be vegan, but some are vegetarian, and gluten plays a role. The bites from different cultures were appealing, and we had a musical tour of how dumplings appear in different forms around the world, as well as some lively musical surprises.
As wonderfully uncluttered as the refreshing broth you might find with a Chinese dumpling, the show is suitable for all. And if you wondered why a sweet dumpling was served before the savoury, that’s just another touch of whimsy, maybe to remind us that some things don’t have to be as ordered and rigid as our adult brains make them?
If you are looking for a relaxing interlude in a busy Fringe, this charming 6.00pm offering has much to recommend it. It will even solve the problem of having to gobble food on the move before the next Fringe adventure.
For those in Geelong, the show is coming to your Melbourne Fringe Encore season, later in October.
Dumplings Darling: Love without Borders
Festival Hub: Trades Hall – The Square, Corner Lygon & Victoria Streets, Carlton
Performance: Thursday 19 October 2023
Season continues to 22 October 2023
For more information, visit: www.alisatanakaking.com for detail.
Image: Dumplings Darling (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte