Review: Freedom Hi 自由閪, VAULT Festival

Tapping into the Hong Kong resistance movement, Freedom Hi 自由閪 is a piece of inventive chaos at the VAULT Festival

“Let our rage not be crushed
Let our fears not be ignored
Let our silence be defiant
Let our words soar”

As a compilation of new writing and performance art by UK based Hong Kong and British East Asian artists, Freedom Hi 自由閪 is necessarily a messy and complex thing. Which makes trying to review it in the conventional sense something of a fruitless enterprise (some might say that about reviewing anything at all…!!).

Anchored by a brilliant use of technology – joining the show by Telegram is an additional route in for the audience – and compiled by Kim Pearce for Papergang Theatre, the result is a dizzying montage of dance and drama, poetry and prose, interactivity both in person and onscreen. It aims, and shoots, high and the resulting scattershot fall is thus varied.

And ultimately that’s fine, the feeling is disorientation that sometimes creeps in feels only too apposite in a piece trying to convey the chaos of battling actual repression in the 21st century rather than an abstracted notion of ‘freedom fighting’. So too with the rawness of much of the emotion here, are you seriously going to tell someone to articulate their argument more clearly when it is clearly so deeply, personally felt.

Along with STAGES, it’s another technologically impressive piece for the VAULT Festival that you feel is beginning to move the needle in terms of what theatre can look and feel like. And it feels no mistake that once again it is amplifying minority voices…what’s that saying about necessity being the mother of invention? Definitely worth engaging in, on all its levels.

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
Photos: Erin Guan
Freedom Hi 自由閪 is booking at the VAULT Festival until 15th March

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