Skip to content


Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2010
The Emperor's Quest
Published on Saturday, 28 August 2010

4.5 stars

C (venue website)
4-30 Aug, 11:15am (12:05pm)
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

The story of The Emperor's Quest is based on a Chinese folk tale, reimagined in a South Korean production featuring lyrics in Japanese... but which kids in Scotland will love.  A collaboration between talent from South Korea and the UK, there's a lot of promise in this delightful tale – miss it at your peril.

Ling is a young girl who loves nothing more than to tend her garden; in fact, the only person who loves gardening more than Ling is the Emperor himself.  And so when the Emperor sets a quest for all the children of the land to grow a flower, Ling is expected to do well.  The tale follows Ling's unexpected difficulty in the quest, exploring the importance of honesty and the value of friendship.

Within the musical numbers a selection of traditional Korean instruments are played live on stage.  The songs are performed well, are clear and easy for children to follow and neatly integrated into the storytelling.  There is a brief introduction where the cast teach the audience some brief phrases in Japanese and Korean so the crowd can join in the singing later on, which I imagine children at the older end of primary school age would enjoy – though the children in the audience beside me were a little too young to be able to take part.

The cast were uniformly excellent, in particular the young actors playing Ling and her two friends, Soo and Bobo.  Amongst the adult characters, the interfering parents – Soo's overbearing mother, living vicariously through her daughter, and Bobo's stand-offish businessman father – stood out as recognisable comic types well crafted.

With the cheery songs, the bright colours, the easy moral to the story and the smart wit, I could easily imagine The Emperor's Quest as a Disney-style animation of great appeal.  I found The Emperor's Quest to be utterly charming, with a lot to recommend to parents and children alike.

<< Aberglas   Tempest: Without A Body >>


These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2013

Coming to the Fringe this year?  We can help you make the most of your time.  Learn about Edinburgh's summer Festivals and plan your visit around the city's major events. 

Find out more >>