Tale of Ancient Lights (Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival 2014)


On Sunday May 4th 2014, something occurred that had rarely happened to me before… I was left speechless… The culprit? Riuchi’s ‘The Tale of the Ancient Lights’ which was performed in the Mac.

I’ve always been one to follow and support the arts and thus, was more than a little excited when Nerdgeist was given the opportunity to sample the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival 2014. It’s always great to see Belfast building a new entity and culture, through such means as the arts, rather than focusing on its less than joyous past.


Before Sunday’s performance I had since attended the F**k Buttons gig and The Last Waltz, and was thus in full festival mode. However, nothing, and I mean nothing could have prepared me for the spectacle that was The Tale of the Ancient Lights. As said, I’ve always been one to follow the arts and would not use the phrase ‘like nothing I’ve ever seen before’ lightly. However, this was literally like nothing I’d ever seen before.


The description that I’d read prior to the performance indicated that it was ‘a solo performance’ combining ‘circus, dance and magic in a modern journey through an ancestral Asian legend’. So I was expecting something of the pantomime and perhaps overly theatrical. However, the reality was very different.

The show was extremely intricate, stunning and captivated the audience from beginning to end.  As mentioned, the show was a solo performance and was presented by the extremely talented Riuchi.  It lasted all of 45 minutes, but, in that time he managed to transport me (and I’m sure the rest of the audience) to another time and continent.


Our destination was a dusty temple in ancient Japan where we witnessed an ancient ritual (well at least that was my interpretation) and the transformation of an old wearied traveller into (what I interpreted to be) his former self. Within this ritual display was evidence of extraordinary timing, deft sleight of hand and dazzling creativity.

Primarily, as the title suggests, this was a light show.  A variety of light sources were used, all of which were subtly placed in a manner that allowed them to be seamlessly brought into the plot.  Now, I have seen numerous glow sticks in my time, but not once have I seen one tossed and spun in a way that almost led me to question my understanding of gravity.

In all, this really was a show like no other as, for all but a fleeting moment, it led this 26 year old cynic to almost believe in magic again.

You can find out more information about Riuchi and the show on his official website

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

1st – 11th May 2014 – Cathedral Quarter, Belfast


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