Review: Taiwan Season: Tomato

An undeniably beautiful take on desire

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Photo by Stella Chen
Published 04 Aug 2022

The eponymous fruit of Tomato becomes a cipher for lust and intimacy in this curious half-choreographed, half-digital piece that digs into the tactility and frenzy of sexual desire with sometimes wry, sometimes bewildered enthusiasm. Plumbing the depths of the tomato’s lascivious possibilities (smooth skin, round form, you get it), three performers immerse themselves in its world, filling their own theatrical space with its form – plastic, real, and one dinky tomato-shaped camera that films the proceedings. Choreographer Chou Kuan-Jou cleverly navigates the plurality of desire: the performers’ movements shift from languorous to frenzied in mere seconds, every move expressing the simultaneous freedom and complication of sexuality in the modern age.

There are times where the choreography edges towards the crude – in interpretation rather than explicitness – slightly derailing the dreamy obliqueness that runs through the rest of the show. Yet there’s something undeniably beautiful, and profoundly human, about it all, and the live-documenting camera – a potentially gimmicky tool – becomes one of the show’s most knowing touches, making manifest the shudder and collapse and sheer vitality of the human body as sexual subject. Only 30 minutes long, Tomato moves swiftly in and out of a pleasurable chaos, making the audience as complicit as the performers. Desire, it tells us, is a sweet and maddening and rabid thing. Give in to its push and pull.